By Erik Weibel
Back Cover: For years the evil villain Wintergreen has tried to destroy super crime-stopper, Tomato, and his sidekick, Pea, and take over planet Oarg. In a plan gone wrong, Wintergreen traps himself along with his arch-nemesis in a runaway rocket ship that crashes on a strange planet called “EAR-TH”. Now these perennial enemies must learn to work together to survive the dangers on this strange world. Hungry birds, enormous snakes and the giant inhabitants of EAR-TH stand between this brawling bunch of aliens and finding a way home.
Opening: The rookie was preparing to sneak out of his room, even though he knew it was against regulations. He had overheard the plans for the mission. Plans that he knew wouldn’t work, but no one would listen to a mere rookie.
About the Story: Super-hero Tomato wins an all-inclusive space cruise for himself and three companions. The next day he and his best friend and sidekick Pea, Skew a cook, and Poppy Lobster, a mailman board the S.S. Poofy. Tomato’s arch-nemesis, Wintergreen, a failed O.L.E. agent, has lured the crime-fighters on board with the intention of sending them into a black hole from which they can never return. Alas, things go awry and Tomato and his crew become stuck on the ship with Wintergreen and his crew of three. No one can control the spiraling ship and it soon crashes onto an unknown planet called EAR-TH. If any of the eight want to get back to Oarg, they will need to work together, with one leader. Can they do this? Who will lead this mix of agents of good and doers of evil? Can they survive on this unknown planet?
What I Thought: First, what I did not like. The prologue is confusing. Wardoes have taken over enough of the planet Oarg to the point that the military has given up, saying there was nothing they can do. The government is not working. Rookie Tomato sneaks out, saying he has a plan. The prologue ends with Tomato jumping out of a bay door. Then Pea, the narrator says,
You see the trouble all started back on Oarg . . .
This tells me that we are going back in time before the Wardoes have taken over and before rookie Tomato has jumped from that bay door, but we don’t. Instead, A Bad Idea picks up with a mature Tomato playing cards—Go Fish—with Pea, his best friend and sidekick. Pea describes Tomato as looking older than his years,
. . . maybe because of all that he has been through.
The story has jumped ahead in time. The rookie Tomato as since vanquished the Wardoes from Oarg, making the Wardoes irrelevant to the current story. Get rid of the prologue. There are also a few punctuation errors.
What I did like about The Adventures of Tomato and Pea, Book 1: A Bad Idea is the intergalactic story of unusual proportions. On EAR-TH, the mixed crew finds a planet of giants, even baby birds tower over the Oarg residents. I like the humor in the story. Another time, when they learn where the ship will crash, Skew remarks,
O-HI-O sounds friendly.
A Bad Idea is peppered with bits of humor, some of it very smart, and some (smarter), reminiscent of Monty Python. There are some very positive themes in the story. The group must cooperate, have some patience, learn to get along, and Tomato, the hero, refused to leave his sworn enemy behind when the evil-smidge became trapped by a rat.
The story of the failed space cruise that crashes on EAR-TH, in my state of O-HI-O—a friendly place—is good. The writing is tight, the plot stays on course (no pun intended), and it is enjoyable. The characters come alive in all the action that is packed into this book. Visualizing each character is easy given the details laid out for each. Details are so descriptive, you will feel like you’re bouncing around space, just missing a black hole, crashing onto a rooftop, falling into a tree, a bush, a hole, and finally hiding in a hole of a building, which just happens to be one of the author’s favorite places: a public library. The crashing scene was both intense and funny.
A Bad Idea appears to be a series. The ending left the reader with a question, rather than a conclusion. Will EAR-TH . . . aw crud, I’m sorry, I cannot tell you how it ends. For his debut, eleven-year-old Erik has written a smart story. Kids who like fantasy will enjoy A Bad Idea, which I think is a good idea.
I must disclose that I have known Erik these past three years and he is becoming a force to watch when he picks up a pen. We will be reading a lot of Erik’s work in the years to come as his writing matures. The Adventures of Tomato and Pea, Book 1: A Bad Idea will not be his best work, but he can look back on it fondly as a grand start to what will surely be a grand career.
ABOUT ERIK WEIBEL
Erik is an eleven-year-old sixth grader that loves to read, write, and review books. He started his blog, This Kid Reviews Books when he was nine. Erik writes a monthly book review column for a local free newspaper, which you can read on his blog each month. Erik has a black belt in TaeKwon-Do and in his spare time enjoys building things out of LEGOs. He hopes to be an inventor and a published author when he grows up.
Released August 8, 2013
Ages: 5 – 10
© 2013 by Erik Weibel
DONATED TO LOCAL PUBLIC LIBRARY OR SCHOOL
- Ask me about my book. No, really… (thiskidreviewsbooks.com)
Debut Author ERIK WEIBEL’s Book Tour
my (Erik’s) blog http://thiskidreviewsbooks.com/ – cover reveal and announce blog tour
Michelle Isenhoff’s blog http://michelleisenhoff.com/ – Book review
KidLit Reviews https://kid-lit-reviews.com/ – Book review
Mother Daughter Book Reviews http://motherdaughterbookreviews.com/ – Book review
The Story Readig Ape http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/ – Guest post by me (Erik)
Catherine Johnson’s Blog http://catherinemjohnson.wordpress.com/ – Book review
Julie Grasso’s Blog http://www.whenigrowupiwannawriteakidsbook.blogspot.com.au/ – Book review
By Word of Beth http://www.bethstilborn.com/ – Book review and giveaway
Diane Tulloch’s blog http://thepatientdreamer.com/ – Book review
Picture Books Help Kids Soar http://viviankirkfield.com/ – Book review
Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog http://susannahill.blogspot.com/ – Interview – Q&A with Commenters and giveaway
Reading with Rhythm http://readingwithrhythm.wordpress.com/ – Book Review
Julie Rowan-Zoch’s blog http://julierowanzoch.wordpress.com/ – Interview
Dr. Nana Plum’s (AKA Dr. Niamh Clune) http://ontheplumtree.wordpress.com/ – Book Review in rhyme 😀
S.W. Lothian’s blog http://swlothian.com/ – Book review