I've been a fan of Adam Gidwitz for a while, even after a fifth grader (she's now in 9th) abandoned A Tale Dark and Grim because it was keeping her up at night. Oops. But last year was when we clinched our fandom for him.
There was a small, but strong, Inquisitor's Tale Newbery book group. We even scored a Skype with Adam before he was crowned with the Newbery honor. We could say "we knew him when." Incidentally, during that Skype he mentioned the new series he was working on about some unicorn society something or other....
Well, wait no more! Finally, it's here and I can actually tell you the correct title: The Unicorn Rescue Society: The Creature of the Pines. Yay! So...Grab your gooey almond bars (no raisins, please) and a mason jar of sassafras tea and get ready for a fun, laugh out loud adventure with the new kid, Elliot, his friend, Uchenna and the weird teacher, Professor Fauna.
The first chapter had me hooked and will definitely get the attention of any middle grade reader. Farting and nose picking? Perfect. I'd bet Las Vegas that none of my students returning it before it's finished.
It's Elliot's first day at his new school, a few weeks into the new year. Poor guy. Who starts a new school after the first day? And to top it all off, they are going on a field trip to the Pine Barrens in New Jersey. The Pine Barrens, home to exotic animals, and truthfully an unusual landscape. I know from experience, as I camped out at "Scrubby Pines" (outside of Manahawkin) a few times when we couldn't afford a place on Long Beach Island.
After being warned NOT to leave the group, Uchenna does (and Elliot follows). They end up getting pretty close to this blue creature (part deer, part bird with claws and hooves) later aptly named "The Jersey Devil."
"Danger is the greatest teacher." (Professor Fauna) If this is the case, Elliot and Uchenna are armed to learn a lot! Not only do they need to keep their new found creature safe but they also have to fight off the Schmoke (which conveniently seems to rhyme with Koch???) brothers who are hoping to make the Jersey Devil the latest addition to their exotic collection.
This is a winner. A winner for your Inquisitor's Tale fans. A winner for your Tale, Dark and Grim fans (Oh! I've currently got one of those at school, who happens to wear a unicorn hoodie all the time!). A winner for your Magic Tree House adventure fans. Even a winner for anyone (what?!) who hasn't heard of Adam Gidwitz. YET. And bonus? It's illustrated by the illuminator from Inquisitor's, Hatem Aly.
Just one question, well maybe, two: When's Book 2 coming out? Book 3? And, where do I find a recipe for the almond bars? Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye.
The Castleton Elementary Tribute to Adam Gidwitz
|I hope I get to meet Adam again! This is from ALA 2015. He's going to be at TLA! I hope I see him there!|
That's Mr. Chevrier, my former principal, now our Superintendent,
with his small but strong book group!
|Skyping with Adam last January before he won!|
|Right after The Inquisitor's Tale won the 2017 Newbery honor!|