Saturday, August 1, 2015
Finale Friday (The Best of the Week) The Enchanted Files: Diary of a Mad Brownie by Bruce Coville
Release Date: June 30, 2015
Publisher & ARC: Random House
Introducing The Enchanted Files! Told in diary entries and other “documents,” this magical, modern-day new comedy series by the master of funny fantasy, Bruce Coville is filled with laugh-out-loud humor and heart.
In the first hilarious Enchanted Files, Angus is a brownie. No, not the kind you eat! He’s a tiny magical creature that loves to do chores. Angus has just “inherited” a new human girl, Alex. To say that Alex is messy would be an understatement. She’s a total hurricane-like disaster—and she likes it that way, thankyouverymuch! Living with each other isn’t easy but Angus and Alex soon learn there is a curse that binds them. What’s worse, it threatens Alex’s family! Working together, Angus and Alex will set out to break the curse . . . without killing each other first . . . hopefully.
* "Smart, amusing, and a lot of fun" —Booklist (starred review)
"With magic, mischief, and mayhem to spare, this sweet story of an unlikely friendship ought to delight readers of any age." —Publishers Weekly"A knee-slapper." —Kirkus Reviews
Why the Best of the Week?
Supporting Documents: My absolute favorite part of this book is the documents. Even after I finished reading the book, I went back and reread the documents. From illustrations of Alex's house to encyclopedia entries detailing creatures of the Enchanted Realm, the documents are so creative and endearing. Angus's drawings of the creatures he meets really adds personality to his journey to America.
Journal Entries: Angus's journal entries, which are the driving force of the book, are filled with humor. His thoughts and feelings as he comes across various characters (especially Bubbles the cat) are swiftly put down on paper in a way that adds to the plot without being terse. Alex's journal entries (assigned to her by her teacher, who as a teacher, I fully support) are just as funny and fascinating as she details her new found magical friend and her family's strangeness.
(Bad) Poetry: Complete with a Dread Poets Society (as an English teacher, I get it), Alex's teenage brother Bennett writes terrible love poetry for a girlfriend who ends up dumping him because she doesn't like his poetry. Alex's father quits his reputable job to pursue a songwriter career, and when he sends his tracks in to be heard, the company responds that the intern who listened to the songs resigned because they were so bad. Not only that, but Angus himself is cursed to write bad poetry. This element adds another layer of humor to the book.
Family: While the book is whimsical and magical, there is the parental element of the book that is really interesting. Alex writes in her journal about how confused she is regarding her parents and how they've been fighting. For a kid Alex's age, this is probably very familiar. I'm very happy that it is explored in such a sophisticated way here and from a child's point of view.
Fast Paced: Because of the journal style writing and supporting documents, this book can be easily read in an hour or so (at least by an adult). While that may not seem like an attractive idea, the pace of the book actually lends itself well to be read and reread. Flipping back through to look at certain entries or documents is just as pleasurable as reading it through the first time.