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POPCORN BOB by Maranke Rinck


by Maranke Rinck ; illustrated by Martijn van der Linden ; translated by Nancy Forest-Flier

Pub Date: April 20th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-64614-040-4
Publisher: Levine Querido

A mischievous talking popcorn kernel with a short fuse turns a Dutch girl’s life upside down.

When an American farmer pours a “super-illegal” substance onto his cornfield, he’s completely unaware that just a little while later in the Netherlands one of the “mega-big” kernels from that crop will become Popcorn Bob. Nine-year-old Ellis brings Bob to life while secretly microwaving popcorn in the shed. Ellis used to eat popcorn every day, but now both her school and her dads will allow only healthy food, and that means no popcorn. Now Ellis is stuck with the cowboy-hatted Popcorn Bob, whose insatiable hunger and bad temper throw Ellis’ life into chaos—which Ellis is always blamed for. If only Ellis could get rid of Popcorn Bob and convince everyone to stop eating gross, healthy food all the time! Originally published in the Netherlands, the plot of this illustrated chapter book strings together an odd assortment of slapstick scenarios, all propelled by the selfishness of a strange and repugnant kernel of corn. The detailed grayscale pencil illustrations are full of whimsy, exaggerated facial expressions appropriate to the cartoonish plot. Ellis and her dads appear to have fair skin, and Ellis’ classmates are diverse in appearance. The “meanwhile, back in the American Midwest” ending sets up a sequel. Numerous references to “crazy” people may leave readers with a bad taste in their mouths.

For readers with a taste for the bizarre.

(Science fiction. 7-10)