Title: The Adventures of Tomato and Pea (Book #1: A Bad Idea)
Author: Erik Weibel
Publication Date: August 8, 2013
Publisher: Independent – CreateSpace
Number of pages: 72
Recommended age: 5 to 10
Reviewed by: Renee (Mother)
Amazon (US) * Amazon (UK) * Amazon (Canada)
For years the evil villain Wintergreen had tried to destroy super crime-stopper, Tomato and his sidekick, Pea, and take over planet Oarg. In a plan gone wrong, Wintergreen traps himself along with his arch-nemesis in a runaway rocket ship that crashes on a strange planet called “EAR-TH”. Now these perennial enemies must learn to work together to survive the dangers on this strange world. Hungry birds, enormous snakes and the giant inhabitants of EAR-TH stand between this brawling bunch of aliens and finding a way home.
My Thoughts: When my friend Erik, from This Kid Reviews Books, emailed me to ask him to take part in the blog tour promoting his new book, The Adventures of Tomato and Pea I didn’t hesitate for one second. I knew that Erik would create a story sure to delight a middle grade audience – and I was right! Who better to write a middle grade book than someone extremely well-read in the genre? Rule #1 of writing a children’s book: Know your target audience! Well, that should be an easy one for this 11 year-old author. Check! Rule #2: Read mountains of books in your genre. Um… have you visited Erik’s website? That kid READS! Check!
The Adventures of Tomato and Pea is a rollicking good time filled with imaginative characters, such as the 3 to 4 inch Smidges and the slightly taller at 10 inches Wardoes, from the faraway planet of Oarg, a conniving villain, Wintergreen who entertains grandiose plans to take over the planet (any planet), and plenty of silliness as these aliens unwittingly find themselves as miniscule beings on the planet Ear-th in an area known as O-HI-O.
I read this book aloud to my two children and I have to say that it is brilliant as a read-aloud book because there is so much dialogue and so much potential for providing animation with the dialogue. Let me illustrate. This is one of my favorite lines as Wintergreen is discussing his archnemesis, Tomato, with his henchmen:
“It’s all part of my plan to rid Oarg of that meddling Tomato. BLAH! TOMATO! He doesn’t even LOOK like a tomato!!”
In fact, as I was reading the book, I kept imagining children in each of the roles playing out each part. It’s just the kind of story you can imagine kids acting out in their backyard. While my kids did not officially review this book for our site, I can tell you that they were both laughing out loud while I was reading it. In particular, we all giggled everytime I had to read out the ship’s name: the S.S. Poofy!
I do have to comment about the cover (as feedback to middle grade authors). As we were reading the book, my son asked to see the cover and was disappointed to discover that there were no images of the Smidges, specifically Tomato and Pea. He desperately wanted to know what they looked like. So, just quick feedback to all middle grade authors, beause I see this time and time again: your cover should have illustrations of the main characters.
My Bottom Line: This fun story is written for kids by a kid. The characters and story are unique and highly imaginative, the plotline is full of fun and silliness, and the cliffhanger at the end will leave kids wanting more. I would recommend this book to young boys aged 5+ as it can easily be read aloud. In particular, I think it would appeal to reluctant readers as well. Great job Erik!
* This book was provided to us by the author free-of-charge in exchange for our honest opinions. *
About the Author: Erik Weibel
Erik Weibel is an eleven-year-old sixth grader that loves to read. He started his blog, This Kid Reviews Books when he was nine. Erik writes a monthly book review column for a local free newspaper. He has a black belt in TaeKwon-Do and in his spare time enjoys building things out of LEGOs. He hopes to be an inventor and a published author when he grows up.
Website: This Kid Reviews Books
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