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Summary: Pinnochio, Schnozzberry, Booger Beak. Andy Whiffler has heard them all. Andy is the new guy, and Jimmy, TJ, and Mumps like reminding him just how much he stands out! When Jimmy, TJ, Mumps and Andy join Mr. Colby's comics club, a friendship begins ... and so do the adventures of Super Schnoz, their comic book hero. Something rotten is going on and Andy can smell it. Is it time for our paper hero to come to life? Gates of Smell is the first title in a new middle grade adventure series.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 9 to 12; read yourself: 10 and Up
Interest Level: 9 to 12
Reading Level: 5
Age of Child: Read with and by an 11-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: This looked like it was going to be a hit. Our daughter loved laughing at the boys' antics, as well as the illustrations. But at Chapter 10 (about 1/3 through), she quit. "It's too predictable and its not funny anymore."
Adult Reader Reaction: The series has a great premise. I love how the author threw the bullies and the victim together and turned it into a friendship. The story itself, though, seemed pretty stale. Not only was it predictable from a plot point of view, but the jokes were well-worn, too.
Pros: Lots of humor and fun illustrations make this a good choice when you need something light, with lots of action.
Cons: The predictability was a disappointment.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. Although it wasn't a hit for us (i.e., our reader stopped reading) there is plenty of humor and silliness to engage young readers.
Educational Themes: This is a book meant for fun reading. There is an interesting point early in the story that shows kids how they can turn a "bullying" situation into something more productive and sincere.
Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.
Literary Categories: Fiction - friendship, comics, adventure, mystery, series
Date(s) Reviewed: March 2014
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at barnesandnoble.com and amazon.com.