Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Tinsel and ChooChoo are in heaven now but they have a sequel bunny named Luna. Look how cute she is. Her feet are black like otters and her butt is tiny. In fact, I managed to accidentally read four sequels in near succession and I have already assured you that I will review them, from least to most essential to the good of man or their respective original. Some sequels are so useless that no one on Earth has ever read them, like Cosette and that sequel to Gone with the Wind. Some sequels degrade the original and one blanches to remember how one enjoyed the first, and should-have-been-only installment, like Clerks 2, My Girl 2, or Disney movie sequels. And some sequels are so much better than the original that Wishing for Tomorrow has knocked my socks off so hard I've imposed my veneration of Hilary McKay on oodles of other people, and I've gone back and cared about The Little Princess more than when I first read it. None of the sequels I've recently pursued were too detrimental or essential to the original, but they were all acceptable and made their authors' stories a little bit longer. Herewith:

King Dork Approximately. Not sure why this is a thing, but it's out there. I ordered it from the library right after I read King Dork in January before KDA was out, and then I got that e-mail saying I had a book reserved for me and there it was waiting on the shelf because those are our tax dollars that got my inter-library transfer for me. At the end of King Dork, everything was wrapped up neatly: mystery solved, villain vanquished, father redeemed, hero blow-jobbed. You can't unwrap a conclusion like that, so Frank Portman has followed it up by cramming half a new plot into a slightly longer book. Our hero is sent to another high school. That's pretty much it. No intrigue, no dead bodies, no secret codes. The hook is that he loses his virginity but that doesn't happen until the very end. It's still a good book, but Portman used up all his A material the first time round and this is just a lot of riffing, and Little Big Tom.

Smek for President. The end of The True Meaning of Smekday was all wrapped up in a neat little package and it's out now in movie form as Home. (Vaguest movie title ever.) No reason at all for Adam Rex to write an addendum novel, but he did and it's one long, zany bit of action-packed Boovery. Tip and J-Lo fly to New Boov World to appeal for clemency from Captain Smek and quickly find out that the Boovs' sojourn on Earth made them hip to Jeffersonian democracy and Supreme Boov is now an electable position. Dan Landry, the showboater who took all Tip's credit for saving Earth in the first book, jumps into the race and meanwhile J-Lo is discovered as the squealer who brought the Gorg to Earth and he's thrown in jail, so it's up to Tip to rescue him and she's on the run through a system of garbage tunnels where she meets a lonely Boov called Fun Size and there's a billboard named Bill who makes bubbles and wackiness ensues. This book is all madcappery, even more madcap than The True Meaning of Smekday. And it all works out. A million double-plus bonus points to the voice actress on the audiobook.

1493. It's the sequel to 1491 and it isn't. 1493 combines history with dire warning about the future and the successful popular historian's confidence that he can write about whatever he wants, which is mainly the globality of food resources exported from the Americas after 1492. Potatoes and malaria reshaped the world in ways we touch every day and our rubber crop is extremely vulnerable. Also, Africans outnumbered Europeans in the Americas for centuries and the Chinese gold trade with South American Spaniards jump-started global trade, plus easily preventable environmental disasters.

Lulu and the Hamster in the Night. The most important sequel is Lulu because she has her own series, and while 1493 contains vital information and almost achieved top spot for the most essential sequel, Hilary McKay beat Charles Mann by invoking proper hamster care in fun form. Because Lulu's stupid classmate can't handle her hamster so she threatens to abandon him. Lulu grabs the hamster and socializes him but at a critical juncture in his friendliness training, her Nan's birthday arrives and she and Mellie need to sleep over at Nan's for her birthday weekend. Can she sneak the hamster into Nan's house? Hamsters are social, curious, nocturnal fuzzies and Lulu and the Hamster in the Night emphasizes the nocturnal when the hamster escapes and goes on a hamster-blast adventure fun and Lulu and Mellie need to rescue him without waking Nan. Luna's full name is Luna Lulu Lovegood aLLgeyer after the Lulu books.

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