Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Stella Reviews: Project Jackalope by Emily Ecton

Once again I have my lovely sister on my blog for a guest review. :) Enjoy~
Published Date: March 21, 2012
Published Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Source: Raincoast Books
Received Format: ARC
Pages: 256
Age:  10 and +
ISBN: 9781-1-4521-0155-2
Price: $15.99

Jeremy's troubles begin when his eccentric neighbor leaves him an "experiment" for safekeeping-a jackalope! This so-called mythological creature looks like a bunny rabbit, but comes with razor-sharp antlers and is purported to be a ruthless killer. When government agents show up at Jeremy's house seeking the jackalope for their own nefarious purposes, Jeremy must find a way to protect the jackalope, and himself. So he reluctantly joins forces with Agatha, his holier-than-thou genius neighbor. Together, with the jackalope (and his weapons-grade antlers) tucked away in a backpack, they have only one chance to save Jack and still get their science fair projects in on time. With her striking sense of humor, Emily Ecton has created a hilarious and suspenseful adventure.

Stella's Thoughts:
This book was funny and unique and the concept behind it is fantastic. The concept itself can be a Dreamworks animated movie where I think kids will definitely have a good time watching the story unfold. However, the story failed to reach its potential in many ways. Here are some of the issues I had with the book:

1) Character development. Everything was so rushed. Jeremy, the main character finds a Jackalope in his room; left there by his mad-scientist neighbour, and immediately things begins to roll. Actually, more like Usain-Bolt-lightning-speed. The next thing you know is he is teaming up with his other neighbour, Agatha to find the missing professor. Many things felt left out and the relationships between characters seem to be easily dismissed. Can be get more of an introduction to Bob? Can we know more about Jeremy and Agatha's relationship? They claim to be just acquaintances, then why do they seem to know so much about each other? I often had to read back a page just to make sure I didn't miss anything.

2) Not very believable. To think men in black suits come and visit your house and school looking for you, you'll think there will be some suspense to this novel but the plot just became very unbelievable. Jeremy's parents doesn't seem to question the two men staking outside their apartment, no one at school ratted Jeremy and Agatha out when the two men came to their school and raided their lockers. You will think someone must have seemed them leaving the school...through the front doors. After leaving school, they walked to the zoo. Oh really??? Oh they also sneaked into the zoo's lab and picked the lock. Who are these kids?

3) Why a jackalope? Wouldn't it sound scarier and more intense had the animal been a baby dragon? I think so.

Finally, a praise - Being a science student myself, I did enjoy some of the science aspect to this story but I think it is also this science background that made me doubt so many of the events in this book. It touched on topics that high school students will understand, which was fun for me to read.

This book is like Meet the Robinsons and I think a 9 year old who enjoys science will eat this book right up. Did I mention this book is very funny and I laughed out loud a couple of times? :)

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