Review: The Qwikpick Papers: Poop Fountain! by Tom Angleberger
The Qwikpick Papers: Poop Fountain!
By Tom Angleberger
Note: Sometimes an idea makes so much sense, you have to
steal it try it yourself. Poop Fountain! is a re-release of The Qwikpick Adventure Society, originally published by Dial in 2007. Amulet is bringing the book back with some excellent repackaging to kick off a brand-new Qwikpick Papers series. A couple weeks back A Fuse #8 Production re-ran her original review of that book to mark this re-release. I realized that I also reviewed and highly enjoyed this one back in the golden days of the late aughts. Since I still feel like this is a book that scores of readers will love and identify with, trot that review out I shall (albeit slightly modified). Thanks for the idea, Fuse.
In my youth, I did a fair share of hanging around public places. A friend and I used to be regulars at the local Kmart plaza, eating Nutty Bars and perusing the car care section to debate serious topics like which chamois was probably the most absorbent. These are the things that happen growing up in a small town. The Qwikpick Papers: Poop Fountain! exposes these seemingly mundane life experiences as the occasionally life-changing times they can be. All nicely wrapped up into a story about seeing a mythical poop fountain.
The story is told through the perspective of Lyle Hertzog. The book itself is a sort of notebook – part typed (on Lyle’s typewriter) and part handwritten. Lyle and his two friends, Marilla Anderson and Dave Raskin, all live in the trailer park located behind the Qwikpick gas station. Since Lyle’s folks work there, Qwikpick becomes a hangout. When the three realize they don’t have plans for Christmas day, they are determined to make the most of it – set out on a true adventure. When Marilla suggests a trip to the Crickenburg Wastewater Treatment Plant, they decide it’s a plan. FYI: They get more than bargained for.
I started this up and finished it in one sitting, which is not the way I usually work – a good sign that reluctant readers will likely be drawn in as well. As you might expect, this story wasn’t without some gross-out moments. A portion of readers will be genuinely repulsed during the climax of the tale, ensuring that yet another group of kids will be dying to read it.
The entertaining mix of first-person story, notes, and the occasional photograph combined to create that oh-so-elusive element that can hook readers: voice. In fact, this book would be good to teach voice in a classroom setting (that is, if the teacher is cool with the whole poop fountain thing).
Funny and authentic, The Qwikpick Papers: Poop Fountain! is a book that notices how unforgettable experiences can come from the most unusual sources. Readers will be glad to hear this is the first in a series.
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About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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