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Henry Cicada's Extraordinary Elktonium Escapade

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From critically acclaimed author David Teague, this boisterous and funny novel about friendship and self–discovery will send readers on the wackiest adventure of their lives! It’s no surprise when the doghouse in Henry Cicada’s backyard starts glowing. After all, it’s made out of Elktonium, a luminescent green metal his mom invented. But Henry is surprised when the doghouse From critically acclaimed author David Teague, this boisterous and funny novel about friendship and self–discovery will send readers on the wackiest adventure of their lives! It’s no surprise when the doghouse in Henry Cicada’s backyard starts glowing. After all, it’s made out of Elktonium, a luminescent green metal his mom invented. But Henry is surprised when the doghouse transports him into the imagination of a twelve-year-old girl named Lulu. So surprised, in fact, he forgets his whole plan to be just ordinary. But as Henry gets to know Lulu, he realizes she’s a real girl who is in real trouble. Henry knows he has to help Lulu, but doing something so heroic, so courageous, so audacious...well, it would mean abandoning his quest to be ordinary once and for all. From David Teague, the coauthor of Saving Lucas Biggs and Connect the Stars, comes a wacky, heartfelt adventure that emphasizes the importance of just being yourself…no matter how unordinary that may be.


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From critically acclaimed author David Teague, this boisterous and funny novel about friendship and self–discovery will send readers on the wackiest adventure of their lives! It’s no surprise when the doghouse in Henry Cicada’s backyard starts glowing. After all, it’s made out of Elktonium, a luminescent green metal his mom invented. But Henry is surprised when the doghouse From critically acclaimed author David Teague, this boisterous and funny novel about friendship and self–discovery will send readers on the wackiest adventure of their lives! It’s no surprise when the doghouse in Henry Cicada’s backyard starts glowing. After all, it’s made out of Elktonium, a luminescent green metal his mom invented. But Henry is surprised when the doghouse transports him into the imagination of a twelve-year-old girl named Lulu. So surprised, in fact, he forgets his whole plan to be just ordinary. But as Henry gets to know Lulu, he realizes she’s a real girl who is in real trouble. Henry knows he has to help Lulu, but doing something so heroic, so courageous, so audacious...well, it would mean abandoning his quest to be ordinary once and for all. From David Teague, the coauthor of Saving Lucas Biggs and Connect the Stars, comes a wacky, heartfelt adventure that emphasizes the importance of just being yourself…no matter how unordinary that may be.

54 review for Henry Cicada's Extraordinary Elktonium Escapade

  1. 5 out of 5

    St. Gerard Expectant Mothers

    I got a chance to read an ARC of this book. If you've read Saving Lucas Biggs which David Teague coauthored with Marisa de los Santos, then you know that Henry Cicada has the same charm and wit that you've come to expect from a fun book like The Elktonium Escapade. In this story, Henry Cicada is raised by a single dad who has a habit of inventing and experimenting with a new property called Elktonium. Through a mishap, Henry enters through an experimental doghouse and suddenly discovers he shares I got a chance to read an ARC of this book. If you've read Saving Lucas Biggs which David Teague coauthored with Marisa de los Santos, then you know that Henry Cicada has the same charm and wit that you've come to expect from a fun book like The Elktonium Escapade. In this story, Henry Cicada is raised by a single dad who has a habit of inventing and experimenting with a new property called Elktonium. Through a mishap, Henry enters through an experimental doghouse and suddenly discovers he shares telepathic bond with another girl named Lulu, an aspiring ballerina. For a minute, Henry makes a new friend. The only problem is that Lulu is under the watchful thumb of her greedy aunt Tiffany. Can Henry rescue Lulu from her evil clutches. Find out in this sweet, little gem. Filled with southern humor and a quirky characters, Henry Cicada's Extraordinary Elktonium Escapade is sure to delight ages 9 and up.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Clare Doornbos

    A fantastically silly adventure that takes place in and out of various imaginations and yet (this is the clever part) it still makes sense as a story. There's also some brilliant existentialist stuff, an exploration of grief in families, a slow developing and believable friendship, a theme of wasted potential and most importantly, a really adorable dog. Very good indeed. A fantastically silly adventure that takes place in and out of various imaginations and yet (this is the clever part) it still makes sense as a story. There's also some brilliant existentialist stuff, an exploration of grief in families, a slow developing and believable friendship, a theme of wasted potential and most importantly, a really adorable dog. Very good indeed.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Pop Bop

    I'm Just Saying - Give This Book A Chance I started this and set it down two or three times. I almost just skipped it. I'm delighted, though, that I persevered. Here's why. As you might suspect from the above, the book starts slowly. Henry's Mom, a brilliant scientist, has died. Dad is depressed. Henry is depressed. Dad and Henry have moved to Pumpjack, Texas, and Henry has to start sixth grade in a new school. Mom's last invention was "Elktonium", a new metal on the periodic table that has turned I'm Just Saying - Give This Book A Chance I started this and set it down two or three times. I almost just skipped it. I'm delighted, though, that I persevered. Here's why. As you might suspect from the above, the book starts slowly. Henry's Mom, a brilliant scientist, has died. Dad is depressed. Henry is depressed. Dad and Henry have moved to Pumpjack, Texas, and Henry has to start sixth grade in a new school. Mom's last invention was "Elktonium", a new metal on the periodic table that has turned out to be of absolutely no practical use. Dad lost his job because all he does is try to find a use for Elktonium. Example - the book opens with grumpy, sad Henry trudging to the first day at his new school in a pair of Elktonium sneakers. Oh my, you say, I'm not liking any of this and it feels like it has nowhere to go but down. As it turns out, it has nowhere to go but up, and it keeps climbing all the way to the end. Henry meets a dog on the way to school. The meeting is funny and downright charming. You become intrigued by the change in tone and the clever good humor. Then a weird kid, (Jurgen Mintfarm), shows up at the school bus stop and hides out in his trombone case to avoid a bully. Jurgen is funny, and he's clearly going to be the sidekick. Henry plays some snappy patter head trips on the bully and distracts him until the bus shows up. It's like the characters wake up, the writing wakes up, the plot wakes up, and a certain antic but cleverly connected nuttiness begins to bubble up. Now we're talking. SPOILER. Mom left behind a pyramid made from Elktonium. Turns out it's a sentient portal to any of 49 different dimensions. The top three dimensions lead to people's imaginations. Henry ends up entering Lulu's mind/imagination and gets involved in her life. Everything takes off from there. A couple of things really distinguish this from just a sort of zany farce. First, the author carefully tips in new characters along the way to keep the story hopping. So, a crusty old neighbor shows up. A long last cowboy singer lends a hand. A museum curator picks up some slack. Each is colorful and distinct and gives the tale a boost. Second, we touch on some unexpected issues. Henry's problem is that he's outrageous and colorful and he's trying too hard to blend in. He needs to let his freak flag fly. We consider the nature of imagination and being your own person. At one point Henry's Dad talks to Henry about how he fell in love with Mom, and that may be one of the most touching romantic scenes I've read in a middle grade book in some time. Finally, there is a lot of dry, deeply deadpan throwaway humor in here. Dialogue is crisp and pointed. The pages are peppered with nifty one-liners and sometimes edgy little bits. There's wordplay and puns and a couple of clever who's-on-first style scenes. Everything is fine tuned and finely timed such that the tale screams along even as it feels effortless. I finally decided that this book most reminded me of Daniel Pinkwater's YA novels - deadpan funny, a little skewed, but big hearted and generous and totally committed to the nerd oddball in each of us. This was a terrific find. (Please note that I received a free ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Aylea

    This review originally published on The Children's Book and Media Review All Henry Cicada wants is to be ordinary and unnoticed, but this is hard to do when his dad spends all of his time in the basement trying to discover something useful to do with the odd green material his late wife discovered. Henry gets more than he wanted when he decides to stand up to the school bully, adopts a dog with only three legs, and then accidentally travels across dimensions into the imagination of a girl named L This review originally published on The Children's Book and Media Review All Henry Cicada wants is to be ordinary and unnoticed, but this is hard to do when his dad spends all of his time in the basement trying to discover something useful to do with the odd green material his late wife discovered. Henry gets more than he wanted when he decides to stand up to the school bully, adopts a dog with only three legs, and then accidentally travels across dimensions into the imagination of a girl named Lulu through a doghouse made out of Elktonium. When he discovers that Lulu is in trouble and her aunt Tiffany is trying to crush her imagination and send her on the road to Nowhere, Henry knows he has to help. Even though what he thinks he wants most is to be ordinary, he learns that helping someone else who is hurting can make your own pain go away. While it seems like this would be a fun, whimsical book, the entertainment is met with general confusion because of how it is written. Serious discussions about things like death, emotional abuse, and grief along with underdeveloped, strange characters and a setting that is never explored enough to make sense undermines both the message and the whimsical nature of the story. Instead of connection with the message or the characters, readers have to figure out what is going on and why what the characters want actually matters, and the story gets boring because there is no real emotion to drive the story in spite of some of the difficult circumstances the characters face. Readers who are looking for whimsy or a good message will be disappointed with this book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rita

    The beginning is better than the end which gets a little sci-fi silly.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central Henry and his father move from Philadelphia to a small Texa town because the father is so overwrought by the (cancer?) death of the mother that he loses his job as a librarian because he spends all of his time trying to find a use for the metal the mother discovered, Elktonium, which is basically useless. Henry goes to school with Elktonium shoes and meets Theotis T. Otis, the school bully, as well as bullying victim Jurgen Mintfarm. He also finds Pim Po Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central Henry and his father move from Philadelphia to a small Texa town because the father is so overwrought by the (cancer?) death of the mother that he loses his job as a librarian because he spends all of his time trying to find a use for the metal the mother discovered, Elktonium, which is basically useless. Henry goes to school with Elktonium shoes and meets Theotis T. Otis, the school bully, as well as bullying victim Jurgen Mintfarm. He also finds Pim Pom, an abandoned, three legged dog. In trying to find a place for the dog to sleep, he puts the dog in an Elktonium pyramid, and is soon whisked away to Raisin, Texas, where he gets caught up in drama with Lulu the Tire Giant and her niece Tiffany. Lulu is trying to get Tiffany to because a ballet dancer since her parents are up in space. Henry goes back home and finds out that his mother might have known that the Elktonium helped people travel to other dimensions. He decides he must rescue Tiffany, so borrows General Hedgerow's motorcycle with a sidecar and takes off with Jurgen to Raisin. When they find out that Tiffany is heading to a competition in Nowhere, Texas, they are very worried because it is a ghost town, and Tiffany might become a ghost. When Lulu finds out the plan, she kidnaps Pim Pom, but is eventually tricked into going into the pyramid and ends up in jail. This was one wacky adventure, with plenty of humorous moments and laugh-out-loud silly escapades that younger readers will find amusing. For readers who like books with a touch of spurious science, like Carmen's Fizzopolis or Scieszka's Frank Einstein books, this will give them a super goofy, frenetic, space and time dimension bending adventure. It reads a little like Roald Dahl, with the super evil Lulu, who seems to have little motivation for belittling Tiffany, as well as the evil bully Theotis and the incomprehensible guidance conselour Skander, who cites Marlin Perkins in his dealing's with Henry. This may also appeal to readers who like ostensibly funny books that hide a heaping serving of sadness, like Gephardt's Death by Toilet Paper or Silberberg's Milo, Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze. Since Henry and his father find out about the real uses for Elktonium at the end of the book, and they also now have Tiffany on their hands, I suspect there might even be a sequel. This is also one of those books where I feel, about two chapters in, that the author secretly hates me and wants me to suffer. Or the author doesn't understand what the target demographic wants to read, which is probably the case, since the author has two adorable dogs and is most likely not a bad person. There are some perfectly fine authors to whom I just don't vibrate. Wendy Mass, for example. Since this author also did Saving Lucas Biggs and Connect the Stars, I'm going to put him in this category. Perhaps his picture books are better. I have a hardcover of this, but will probably send it over to a friend who teaches 5th grade. I just don't see my students reading it. Sort of like The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman, they'll check it out and bring it back later the same day. Sigh.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alisa

    This was a big hit with the kids in my household. Henry is the son of inventors and his mother has created a substance called Elktonium. It's in various places in their home including the dog house. One day a trip inside leads to Henry being transported in to another child's imagination. Henry soon realizes Lulu needs his help and the adventure begins. This was cleverly done story that takes place inside and outside various people's imaginations. As Henry goes back and forth he learns a few thing This was a big hit with the kids in my household. Henry is the son of inventors and his mother has created a substance called Elktonium. It's in various places in their home including the dog house. One day a trip inside leads to Henry being transported in to another child's imagination. Henry soon realizes Lulu needs his help and the adventure begins. This was cleverly done story that takes place inside and outside various people's imaginations. As Henry goes back and forth he learns a few things about himself and makes a few friends a long the way. Henry is a charming character as are the side characters. The story is fast paced and easy for children to follow. The dialogue is well written and humorous in places. The story touches on the dynamic of grief in families and I felt this was done well. I read this, as did my ten year old son, and it was a big, big hit with him. He said it was one of the best books he'd ever read. He immediately begged me to purchase him other books by this author. I thought it was a delightful read myself and highly recommend it to people with children in this age range/reading level.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mymcbooks

    A fun book for kids.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    http://catsblogbooks.weebly.com/blog/... http://catsblogbooks.weebly.com/blog/...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

    It's very fun, doesn't take itself too seriously, and has a charming and playful cast. Fun middle grade!! It's very fun, doesn't take itself too seriously, and has a charming and playful cast. Fun middle grade!!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jenk

  13. 4 out of 5

    Logan

  14. 5 out of 5

    Terry

    The writing style creates a very visual story for readers. The story moves fairly quickly with a small set of characters. See why we liked Henry as a character in the full review. The writing style creates a very visual story for readers. The story moves fairly quickly with a small set of characters. See why we liked Henry as a character in the full review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tyrel

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Kotkin

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

  18. 4 out of 5

    Wallis Chan

  19. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

  21. 4 out of 5

    Julie Williams

  22. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez

  24. 5 out of 5

    980024926aps.Edu

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sue Pochop

  26. 5 out of 5

    Noa Sperber

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alice

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kris

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sara Grochowski

  31. 4 out of 5

    Julie

  32. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Steever

  33. 4 out of 5

    Sheila Averbuch

  34. 5 out of 5

    Carol Hendrickson

  35. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  36. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  37. 5 out of 5

    T

  38. 4 out of 5

    KatieP

  39. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

  40. 5 out of 5

    Kayla

  41. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

  42. 4 out of 5

    Neveen

  43. 5 out of 5

    Pat Winter

  44. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  45. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  46. 4 out of 5

    Duke Marr

  47. 4 out of 5

    Ezy

  48. 5 out of 5

    Niki_k

  49. 5 out of 5

    Igrowastreesgrow

  50. 4 out of 5

    Jenn M

  51. 5 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  52. 4 out of 5

    Lucy Meeker

  53. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  54. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Obrien

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