Review of the Day: Rex Zero and the End of the World (Part Two)
(CONTINUED FROM PART ONE)
I’ve heard some people complain that this book is too blatant with its incomprehensible 1962 references and props. For example, Rex lives in a home that he has named the House of Punch, due to the overabundance of old Punch magazines currently littering the basement below. Or there are his multiple references to "real Wonder bread" which is more than mildly baffling to any reader, young or old. All that aside, I didn’t feel that any of this hurt the potential audience of this title. Fleeting confusion is hardly the be all and end all of any title, let alone one as fun and enthralling as this.
"Rex Zero and the End of the World" may be a period piece, but its premise is as timely as ever today. With a great cast of characters, top notch writing, and a story that keeps you guessing, this is one of the unsung gems of the 2007 year. Well worth a gander, should you get a chance to note it.
First Line: "I hear the bicycle before I see it."
Awards: Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award (Shortlisted), CLA Book of the Year for Children Award (Honor Book), CCBC Our Choice (Starred Selection), Boston Globe/Horn Book Award Fiction (Honor Book), and TD CCBC Canadian Children’s Literature Award and (Finalist).
Tim Wynne-Jones was (according to heresay and conjecture) Gwenda Bond‘s college advisor.
Shelf Elf has the scoop on the sequel.
Notes on the Cover: Hoo-boy. Okay, now. This cover was done by an artist I adore and he knows who he is. Darling, I’m speaking to you directly here. I adore you. I love almost everything you do. And honey, there’s no easy way to put this. Basically I read through this entire book waiting for the moment when the gigantic blue octopus would appear. I mean, I was really looking forward to the appearance of that octopus. This cover has three major things on it: bombs, a sign declaring the end of the world, and an octopus. I love me my octopuses (octopusi?) so you can’t imagine how disappointed I was to find that not a single multi-tentacled creature from the deep at any point in this book. What’s up with that? I mean, a gigantic black panther on the cover could also have been a little misleading, but at least it’s mentioned somewhere in the text. Couldn’t we have gone that route? Ah well. This isn’t anywhere in the same field as last year’s book The Floating Island which featured a big dragon on the cover and zippo big dragons in the actual book. Still, I’m just going to register my disappointment with the failure on Tim Wynne-Jones’s part to produce an octopus. Maybe authors need to start taking a couple cues from their cover artists.
Then again, this version lacks a certain amount of pizzazz:
Filed under: Reviews
About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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