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TV REX by John Nickle


by John Nickle & illustrated by John Nickle

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-439-12043-8
Publisher: Scholastic

Nickle (Ant Bully, 1999, etc.) doesn’t play fair in this amusing but disorienting escapade. Young Rex used to help his inventor grandpa make and fix things, but now that Grandpa’s “gone,” he just sits and watches TV all the time. When the TV breaks down, Rex crawls inside to cry. Suddenly, he’s swimming in the ocean, a guest on his favorite show, “Deep Sea Hunt.” Then, with the help of a very special remote, he’s tumbling from channel to channel, chasing bad guys on the “Harly Hog Cartoon Hour,” wiping out Vladimir Nokyerblokov on “Wild World Wrestling,” pitching a baseball here and a weather forecast there. Just as he’s about to be eaten by a robot on “Doctor Bleep in Outer Space,” he feels a hand on his shoulder. It’s Grandpa, not dead as readers have been carefully led to believe, but just away on a long Florida vacation. Though some of the shows Rex visits look modern, “Doctor Bleep” is in black and white—which, with the array of old-style TV sets that Rex watches, give the illustrations a retro flavor. Readers thrown off balance by the climactic twist may prefer more predictable ventures into the boob tube, such as Marc Brown’s Bionic Bunny Show (1986) or Matt Novak’s Mouse TV (1994). (Picture book. 6-8)