Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Smells Like Treasure (MG)

Smells Like Treasure. Suzanne Selfors. 2011. Little, Brown. 416 pages.

There are two types of people in this world--people who sit by their mailboxes and wait for a delivery from the Map of the Month Club and people who don't. You might be asking yourself, What kind of person would sit by his mailbox and wait for a map? An image might pop into your head of a nerdy sort of person with messy hair and pants that are too short. A soft sort of person who'd rather sit in his room and dream about treasure than climb a tree or ride a bike. A smart sort of person because map reading uses 2.5 million more brain cells than watching television. Did you know that the person you've just imagined is Homer Winslow Pudding? 

This is Homer Pudding's second novel. His first adventure can be found in Suzanne Selfors' Smells Like Dog. Once again Selfors assures her readers that Dog, our hero's oh-so-faithful companion, will be alive and well at the end of the novel. From the introduction, "I hate stories about dogs that die, and so I will never, ever write that kind of story. That is my solemn promise. In fact, I believe there should be some sort of punishment for people who write stories about dogs that die. Maybe they should be forced to peel gum off the bottoms of movie-theater seats, or file old people's toenails, or clean the shark tank at the zoo. That's what they deserve after bringing such terrible unhappiness into our lives."

So is Homer Pudding ready for his second adventure? Mostly. He has been looking forward to the county fair for months and months. But when he's banned--in part due to Dog's enthusiasm--on opening night, he's a little relieved to learn that L.O.S.T. will be meeting very, very soon. And their meeting will be to see if he will inherit his uncle's seat within the oh-so-secret-treasure-hunting-club. Zelda shows up in her cloud copter to tell him the news and take him to the club's clever tailor for his first professional treasure-hunting-suit. With a little lie or two, his parents are convinced that their son will be safe with Uncle Drake's good friend, Zelda, whom they've never actually met, for a week. The fair being a very good distraction, I think!

Zelda has told Homer that there is one club member that does NOT want Homer to become a member of the club. But can he figure out which member it is? Well, appearances can be deceiving. It looks like it's just a formality, until a former friend, Lorelei, shows up and starts telling smooth lies. Claiming that Uncle Drake promised her his seat in the club, that Uncle Drake gave her his membership coin. Many know she's lying. Many remember Uncle Drake speaking of Homer and how he is the one to inherit. But not everyone is eager to welcome Homer into the club, and well, this is a convenient way to make him earn it.

If Homer wants to be accepted into L.O.S.T. he'll have to prove himself worthy against his opponent. Both will receive the same clues. Both will have a sponsor member to provide transportation and such. Both will have to solve the mystery and find the "missing" coin that will be hidden somewhere--anywhere--in the world.

Can Homer prove that he has what it takes to be a real treasure hunter?

I liked Smells Like Treasure. I'm not sure that I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it like I did the first book. But it was nice to visit with Homer and Dog again. I liked getting to know the characters introduced in this second novel like Hercules, Homer's sponsor. I didn't like him immediately, in fact, I thought he was a bit annoying. But by the end of the novel, well, I had changed my mind. I think Hercules is better for having this real adventure.

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
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  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
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I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
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  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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