Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow: Addictive Reading for the Younger Set

A book filled with enough imagination and humor to inspire kids to turn off the TV and read.

By , Columnist

Author Nathan Bransford

Finding a book for kids who are old enough to read but are easily distracted by TV, video games and the like is a challenge. Nathan Bransford's debut novel, Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow, might be one solution to the problem. There is enough action, adventure, and humor packed in its pages to keep the most persnickety reader immersed in the story and eager to discover what the next page will bring.

Jacob Wonderbar is the hero of the tale, a sixth grade prankster who gets into trouble almost every week. If he’s not using the school fire sprinklers for target practice, he’s letting the air out of his teacher’s bicycle tires. His stalwart companions, Dexter and Sarah Daisy, are no less to blame.

Coming from a broken home (his father left him and his mother) could be part of the reason for Jacob’s mischievous nature. His friend Dexter, a more cautious boy from a well-ordered environment, and Sarah, who is much smarter and more precocious than either of her companions, try to keep him grounded but are usually too caught up in his games to succeed.

When the trio meet a man in a silver suit who offers to trade them his spaceship for a corn dog, they jump at the chance. Unfortunately after they take off, they break the universe and get kidnapped by Mick, a smarmy space pirate kid. They have plenty of adventures, traveling to planets inhabited by substitute teachers and deranged scientists, where time moves at an odd pace and the air smells like burp breath.

Amidst all the alien silliness and strangeness, the kids have very human concerns. Will they be able to return home now that they’ve put a rent in the universe? Will Jacob perhaps find his long lost father among the stars? How frantic must their parents be? These worries along with the friendship Jacob, Dexter, and Sarah have forged are at the heart of the story.

Keeping track of the kids as they skip from planet to planet can, at times, be daunting, and remembering what challenges confronted them at each stop can be a challenge in itself. However, the story has enough charm to overcome these minuscule quibbles.

Jacob Wonderbar and the Space Kapow is geared for youngsters in the 9 to 11 age group, but kids of all ages would get a charge out of this story with its planets named Numonia and Paisley, and a wonderful talking spaceship called Praiseworthy. It is a truly imaginative tale that, with its strong trio of characters, could quite possibly be the first book of a new young readers series.

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Mindy Peterman is a freelance writer whose focus is on television, movies and pop culture. She has written over one hundred articles for the award winning Blogcritics.org website and has conducted interviews with producer Peter Asher, psychic-medium John Edward, Greg Grunberg and Bob Guiney from Band…

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