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From the Benji Franklin: Kid Zillionaire series, volume 1

by Raymond Bean ; illustrated by Matthew Vimislik

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4342-6419-0
Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

This book is the best cartoon that Hanna-Barbera never made.

Benji has more money than he can count. He may be even wealthier than Richie Rich or Scrooge McDuck, so he can spend all his time searching for lost dinosaurs and flying into space with an eccentric scientist. He earned his fortune by designing an app that generates excuses. (“I’m a kid” works in almost any situation.) As soon as Benji becomes a zillionaire, he buys himself a space station. “[I]t’s a great place to keep my zoo,” he tells an interviewer. If Benji had had a TV show back in the 1970s, fans would be fighting over his toys right now on eBay. Not a single moment of the story is plausible. Benji’s adventures are funnier than anything that happened to Jonny Quest or Josie and the Pussycats. The book wasn’t written in the 1970s, so the pace is much faster than Jonny Quest. On one page, the characters are building a chicken coop near an airplane hangar. On another, they’re saving the world from an asteroid. Benji looks exactly the way a cartoon character should, in any time period: one part Richie Rich, one part Scott Pilgrim. Vimislik’s illustrations are like everything in the book: not at all realistic but very, very funny.

It doesn’t make a lick of sense, but it’s great value per page. (Humorous adventure. 7-10)