The Conklins are “a family of freaks” thanks to Grandma‘s experiments…can they keep Baby Lu safely on the “normal-kid” end of the spectrum?
Ten-year-old Happy Conklin Jr.’s dad is an inventor; most of his designs have flopped, but his “Buns of Abs” made the family millions…all of which Grandma took for herself. She also likes to test the inventions out on her grandchildren. “That’s One Handsome Baby” gave Hap Jr. a beard he has to shave daily. “Baby Master” gave Kayla the ability to see possible futures. Beth and Eliza were born fraternal twins, but “Perfect O’Specs” made them identical. And “The Doorganizer” linked light-fingered Alice to a pocket dimension where she stores everything she steals. While protecting their youngest sibling from Grandma’s predacious experimentation, Hap Jr. inadvertently sells his entire family to an alien reality show; can he get them back and avoid the FBI with the help of the school pet and his beard? Animator and cartoonist Noth’s debut children’s book is nowhere near as zany or as much fun as it wants to be. The setup drags, and readers will find the premise that Hap’s parents let Grandma do what she does awfully hard to believe. Line drawings and occasional comic strips throughout (final art not seen) depict the family as white and add some zip—but not enough to make this a purchase for any but the most generous of budgets.
Sequel likely…unless it gets sold to the aliens too, and that’d be no big loss. (Science fiction. 8-11)