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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Review: Billy Bobble Makes A Magic Wand

Once again, I was given the opportunity to review a book for This month the book is Billy Bobble Makes A Magic Wand by R.S. Mellette

This story is about super whiz kid, 12 year old Billy and his equally smart best friend for life, Suzy. The story opens with Suzy being questioned by police because her friend has set off an explosion at his high school and disappeared. As she tries to explain the complexities of quantum physics, micro biology and the equally mysterious interactions of high school students to the police and other adults, Billy shows up again and the adventure really begins.

I am not sure how I feel about this book. I really like that not once does this story dumb down for the reader. I appreciate the time taken to explain both the science and science fiction aspects of the story. Billy and Suzy lead a cast of delightfully colorful characters, that had me feeling for even the more despicable ones.

I have noticed that this book is labeled as a children's book. In my opinion, it is geared more toward upper middle school - adult. I don't think that kids younger than that will understand the science explanations or get the wonderful pop culture references that pop up throughout the story. I also think the social commentary on topics such as mental illness and bullying, though brilliantly written, may be lost on a younger crowd.

The downside of this book for me was that it seemed to be like two different books, with the first part, told in one way from various characters perspectives, then becoming more like a typical action kid hero adventure story in the second part. Both styles are equally engaging, but it slowed the story down for me until I got used to the new style. Also the fantasy element, though original, was not as clearly explained as the science was. To me the story was not quite as cohesive as I would have liked.

All that said I am looking forward to reading the next installment in the Billy Bobble series. I think it has great potential and that Billy could quite easily take a place in kid lit fame next to Harry Potter or Percy Jackson.

 I give this book a rating of 4

3- Readability: In the first part of the story, the doctor seemed to be to focus of the exposition, I am not sure how her storyline played out. Also I found myself going back to reread a lot of the fantasy situations to make sense of them.

3- Age: Tweens might like it if they understand it, but I think older kids or adults are a better audience for this book.

5- Illustrations: The cover art is awesome.

5- Interest: The book did keep me turning pages to see what would happen next and the characters were simply terrific.

3- Like: I did enjoy the story overall

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  1. Lian, what a great review - not because you liked the book so much, but because it's so well-thought out and well-written. You're right about the age issue. The publisher and I have always said it's for "Upper Middle Grade / Lower YA."

    On a separate note, I'm also glad you're such a fan! I LOVE Harry Potter and Percy Jackson - so that is high praise, indeed.

    Of course, to get to that level, Billy Bobble needs some fantastic fans like you. We have to spread the word so that every kid who might enjoy the book knows about it and can get their hands on it. In this digital age, no one knows exactly how to do that - which makes me think it could be a good project for kids like you. :)

    1. Thank you for leaving a comment. I love reviewing books and it is so cool for the chance to get feedback and talk to the authors. I am sorry I missed interviewing you.

      I do think that my generation can be a real force in a digital age. So many things that seem to be changing for adults, are just how things are for kids my age and that means we can really get in and get things done. Don't forget that Billy is part of this generation too.

  2. Lian - you can interview me anytime. Shoot me a note at:


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