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The Helium Heist

From the Benjamin Impossible series, volume 1

by Timothy Root

Pub Date: Feb. 27th, 2024
ISBN: 9780989750134
Publisher: REN Publishing

In this children’s adventure series starter, a young boy is tasked with a mission to rescue his little brother and save the world from an evil doctor.

Benjamin Impossible has an impressive list of accomplishments. He’s not only a genius; he’s also won the Franklin County hot dog eating contest three years running, and he was once named Preteen magazine’s Boy of the Year. Most people are more familiar with his family members, however. His brother, Charlie, is a 2-year-old prodigy who speaks perfect English and knows 17 programming languages; his mother is Doctor Impossible, who runs the family business, Impossible Incorporated, “the largest invention company in the world”; and his father is Professor Impossible, the inventor of hyper-helium, a gas that has “five hundred times the lifting force of regular helium” and powers the family’s home—a flying pirate ship. When someone steals an expensive hyper-helium shipment from NASA, the Impossibles head to Florida to investigate. They soon find the sinister Doctor Glockenspiel, who kidnaps Charlie and demands the hyper-helium formula in exchange for his return. Now it’s up to Benjamin, along with his robotic dog NOAH (“Non-Offensive Autonomous Hound”) and U.S. Air Force liaison Capt. Lemonthyme, to rescue his sibling and stop Doctor Glockenspiel before he can enact his plan to take over the planet. Root masterfully employs snappy, humorous writing to spin a plot that never drags; it also never feels over-the-top, despite the wacky, outrageous things that occur. The book has plenty of laugh-out-loud moments; at one point, for instance, Benjamin, while running from a robot shark, tells his family to take off in the ship, but they mistakenly think he’s calling for a dance-off, so they activate “disco mode.” Benjamin has a fun collection of gadgets, from Ultra-Pacifiers that can put people to sleep to gas blasters and exploding candy. He’s smart enough to make even NASA employees seem unimpressive, and charming enough to keep readers engaged from start to finish.

A zany and often hilarious kids’ adventure with a sharp protagonist.