Pre-Release Review: The Contagious Colors of Mumpley Middle School by Fowler DeWitt

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Title: The Contagious Colors of Mumpley Middle School
Author: Fowler DeWitt
Illustrator: Rodolfo Montalvo
Format: Hardcover and eBook
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Pages: 272
ISBN: 978-1442478299
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Children’s Mystery, Ages 7 – 10
Date of Publication: 3 September, 2013
Pre-Order Now: Amazon §  Barnes&Noble
Stars: 4

About the Book:

Something strange is happening to the sixth grade—and it’s up to student scientist Wilmer Dooley to crack the case in this fast-paced novel full of humor and mystery.
If there’s one important thing Wilmer Dooley’s dad always says, it’s this: “Where are my car keys?”

Okay, maybe not that. He also says: “Observe!”

Wilmer has always known that the greatest science comes from the keenest observations. So when he observes his classmates looking a little green…and orange…and chartreuse-fuchsia polka-dotted…he knows that it’s up to him to find the cause of this mysterious illness—and the cure.

But with his arch nemesis, Claudius Dill, hot on his heels; the eagle-eyed biology teacher, Mrs. Padgett, determined to thwart his plans; and a host of fluorescent classmates bouncing off the walls at increasingly dangerous speeds, can Wilmer prove he has what it takes to save the sixth grade from a colorful demise before it’s too late?

Book Review:

How can you not love a story that starts with a 6th grade boy deciding girls are similar to Black Widow Spiders? That is the lead in where we meet Wilmer, an admitted science geek and 6th grade student at Mumpley Middle School.

From the clever asides provided by Wilmer, his fascination with science, an admittedly odd mother who takes flavouring suggestions from a toddler, a scientist father who spends his days experimenting in the basement this story has so many elements to laugh at and be intrigued by.

When his classmates begin to turn colors with green noses, pink ears, purple puke: Wilmer’s curiosity is piqued and his fascination with communicable diseases kicks into overdrive. Comparing the neon polka dotted outbreak to the Black Plague in Europe, Wilmer is convinced he will have the winning entry for the science prize at year end: foiling his archenemy Claudius Dill.

With clever illustrations and a simplistic yet wholly correctly plotted series of experiments and steps to determine the cause, Fowler DeWitt manages to make science approachable and interesting for young readers. Wilmer’s family adds the right touch of hilarity and parental ignorance, and the other students and school scenes being perfectly aligned to move the story forward and maintain interest.

I giggled and was cheering Wilmer on as he collected his samples, muddled through the dinner hour at home, and postulated on possible causal agents. A book that will spark interest in all young readers.

I received an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review for Children Read week at I am, Indeed. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

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