It all begins when Freddy Funkhauser, an off-beat nine-year-old with a knack for science, embarks on an ambitious plan to win new customers for the family business, The Burger Castle. But when his secret invention ends up working better than he'd ever dreamed, his plans go wildly awry as his kooky companions wreak havoc in every corner of Freddy's world.
David Baldacci now turns his tremendous thrill-creating talent to side-splitting storytelling in this hilarious adventure for middle-grade readers about fame, friends, and family.
Bestselling adult novelist Baldacci (Hour Game) limps into children's fiction with this inane tale launching the Freddy and the French Fries series. The premise has comic potential, as the author introduces the eccentric Funkhousers. Aspiring scientist Freddy, his wacky inventor father and his 13-year-old Shakespearian quotations-spouting sister dress up (respectively as a chicken, tomato and ketchup bottle) to work at their restaurant, Burger Castle, where "almost no one ever came to eat... unless it was by accident." Located across the street is a snazzy burger place (Patty Cakes) with amusement park rides and a movie theater; the owner (who is also the police chief and mayor) and his thuggish son Adam are preparing an elaborate float for the upcoming parade competition they perennially win. After Adam and his gang attack Burger Castle with paint guns, Freddy is determined to seek revenge. He uses "his father's super secret potatoes and nanotechnology," to create five brightly colored, human-size French Fries. The plot plummets from here, as the rowdy Fries help Freddy and his best friend Howie Kapowie humiliate Adam and his pals and use their powers to clinch the float prize for the Funkhousers. Kids who can't resist references to "butt" and "poop" will find plenty to guffaw at here. Yet most readers may feel that these Fries make for less-than appetizing, curiously bland fare and pass on a second helping. Ages 8-12. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
May 31, 2005
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