Genre: Adventure and fantasy, but mostly humor
Series: This book has a companion novel, Timothy and the Dragon's Gate
Also published as Alex and the Wigpowder Treasure
Mr. Underwood, is not a normal teacher. In addition to teaching his students fencing in P.E., he's the heir to a long-lost pirate treasure. Unfortunately, Mr. Underwood has been kidnapped by pirates and Alex has to go rescue him herself, since the police aren't being very helpful. Along the way, she meets many interesting people, including the Extremely Ginormous Octopus, a hotel owner obsessed with mind reading, a talking refrigerator, and a few very evil little old ladies.
The plot is good, but what really makes it interesting is the writing style. While some writers would simply say, "Alex's parents died in a car crash when she was a baby. She lived with her uncle in an apartment above his shop," Kress says:
"...Alex lived with her uncle. This was because, when she was very young, he had become her legal guardian after Alex's parents had perished while spelunking in Iceland. Together they lived alone above his shop. The shop was very special because it was on the side of a bridge. It was also very special because it was very useful. A useful shop is a shop that sells something like fruit and vegetables, because you need fruit and vegetables to stay healthy and therefore they are necessary. Whereas a nonuseful shop is a shop that sells things like antiques or jewelry, which are both lovely things, but are definitely not something you need to stay healthy, no matter what people tell you.
Alex's uncle's shop was useul because Alex's uncle sold doorknobs, and what could be more necessary than that? If you didn't have doorknobs you would find yourself trapped and unable to get into your own home, and you'd have to sleep outside on the street. Then your home itself would become useless. Which would be horrible." -pg. 6
If you're looking for a funny book, read this one. You won't regret it.
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