Sunday, February 4, 2018

Winter Reading 2018 The Wonderful Baron Doppelganger Device

Waldo Baron, W.B. to his family, has two scientists for parents, and they have a workroom attached to their house out in Arizona Territory. He also has a teacher who seems to think students should spend all their time giving oral reports. The bad news for W.B. is that his teacher thinks everything in his reports is from his imagination rather than facts. Can he help it if his parents drag him along in a coast-to-coast flying contest or undersea to look for lost pirate treasure? So he spends a lot of time sitting in the corner and wearing the dunce cap, with the other kids making fun of him. When a new kid comes to town and actually wants to be friends, W.B. can't believe his luck. Readers don't know all of this at the beginning of the book because W.B. starts at the end of the story with an evil twin holding him at gunpoint on the edge of a cliff. When he realizes that his audience probably doesn't understand why he is in that particular situation, he goes back to the beginning of the adventure and starts again. 

Filled with eccentric characters, a horse named Geoffrey, exploding pies, and a best friend who affectionately calls him "Wide Butt," W.B.'s life is rather eccentric and one can easily see why his teacher doubts the veracity of his reports. Waldo is an entertaining narrator who cheerfully admits that when his parents start talking about science, 'my brain refuses to listen. It will shut off and play loud, wacky music, usually with a lot of funny sounding horns and an off-key piano." He also comes up with funny observations about life, like "never trust a doctor who sells used shoes on the weekend." Since he is easily distracted by food and doesn't have a lot of experience with other children outside the classroom, he is not sure if his friend Shorty is simply jealous of the new boy from class, or if it is normal for friends to be suspicious of each other at first. Waldo does get the feeling that someone is watching him, but he has hit his head so many times his parents aren't sure if it is paranoia or someone actually spying on the family.  

If you enjoy humorous stories with lots of action, clever horses, a cutthroat baking contest, and hobos singing "Camptown Ladies," then pick up this book. Until you read it, you can't imagine all the zany events and characters. And you'll never know why that pie exploded or who the evil twin really is. How will you be able to sleep with questions like that unanswered?

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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