Growing up, my favorite part of the grocery store was the cereal aisle. Shelf after shelf was filled with boxes and boxes of kooky cartoon characters, marshmallows galore, and let’s not forget the special prizes promised inside. The cereal companies knew me well, and after watching their commercials during Saturday morning cartoons, I would beg my mother to buy me the newest --- and most sugarcoated ---- cereal that I could find. I didn’t think twice about what I was eating or the companies I was supporting until I read COLD CEREAL. Now I’m scared, and let me tell you why.
"COLD CEREAL is fast-paced and hilarious. Whether you laugh at the fake cereal commercials, the wascally wabbit, or any of the other countless funny parts, you won’t be nearly as frightened to read about a cereal company looking to take over the world."
It all starts with a young boy named Scott, who has moved to the town of Goodborough, New Jersey, home of Goodco Cereal Factory, who happen to be the makers of some of your favorite cereals like KoKoLumps and Burlap Crisp. After taking a field trip to the factory on the first day of school (weird, right?), Scott meets twins Erno and Emily Utz and immediately finds out that things in Goodborough aren’t quite what they seem. If it wasn’t odd enough that Erno and Emily look nothing like each other, then Scott surely wasn’t prepared for the mysterious riddles that their foster father, Mr. Wilson, left them to work on.
Amongst other things, these riddles eventually help Scott, Erno and Emily realize that Goodco Cereal Factory isn’t exactly the maker of magic that is promised in every box of their cereal. The fact that Scott meets a magic leprechaun named Mick also might have something to do with it. Mick tells Scott that Goodco has been sucking out the life force of faerie magical creatures for decades and inserting the magic into their cereal in attempts to see what would happen to children. Now, most kids wouldn’t object to eating a little bit of magic, but when there is world domination involved, you might think twice before you spoon something into your mouth.
If it were just real magic that Goodco was inserting into their cereals, everything would be a lot simpler. Unfortunately, Scott, Erno, Emily, and a whole host of beaten down magical creatures find out that Goodco has some other plans up their sleeves. Like previous Adam Rex books, though, it’s kind of hard to explain. You really just need to read it. I would only recommend that you wait until you’ve finished breakfast.
So this brings us full circle. I’ve always wondered where cereal companies got their ideas for the Trix Rabbit and Count Chocula, but I really wasn’t prepared for the truth. Adam Rex has crafted a story that makes the lovable and fantastical world of cereal seem scary and sinister. Fortunately for everyone involved, COLD CEREAL is fast-paced and hilarious. Whether you laugh at the fake cereal commercials, the wascally wabbit, or any of the other countless funny parts, you won’t be nearly as frightened to read about a cereal company looking to take over the world. Just say that Adam Rex didn’t warn you.
Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on April 30, 2012