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Another Whole Nother Story

Review

Another Whole Nother Story

This second installment of Dr. Cuthbert Soup's series for middle graders tells the fairly tragic (though mostly pleasant and witty) tale of an inventor whose creation leads to catastrophe. When physicist Ethan Cheeseman invented the world's first time machine, many international agencies were eager to acquire it. Once the news got out, superspies came after his family, who found themselves grieving the loss of their beloved wife and mother, Olivia. Shaken but hopeful, they've escaped with the "Luminal Velocity Regulator" to New England in the year 1668, where they encounter perils and preposterous individuals --- including witch hunters, pirates, ghosts and prisoners in castle dungeons.

ANOTHER WHOLE NOTHER STORY picks up right where A WHOLE NOTHER STORY left off, with the Cheesemans having only just arrived in Colonial America with their devoted dog Pinky and six friends from the traveling circus. Readers of the first book will surely recall Captain Jibby and his crew who carry the curse of the White Gold Chalice. On returning, Jibby finally is able to continue his quest to return the chalice to its rightful owner, and it is with this in mind that the groups part ways: Jibby to charter a ship across the Atlantic, and the Cheesemans to gather supplies to repair the LVR and return for Olivia.

One of the many difficult things about traveling through time is that it is an inherently risky venture. You really never know what might happen. Luckily, though, the Cheesemans are a resourceful, hopeful, polite and charming bunch who never lose faith in each other. As always, Ethan is the consummate authority figure and father, and his children are confident that he will finish the job. They set out to find materials and head for the nearest town with Pinky standing sentinel, and encounter in the wilderness a clever, practical young girl traveling with her pet fox. Once Pinky signals that they're bound to be friends, the Cheesemans realize they've found new allies.

It is always clear in reading Dr. Cuthbert Soup's books how much fun the Cheesemans have while they're on the run. They adapt easily to a variable life and are inherently happy folks who try to make the best of any situation. By the time they've met their new friends "Big" and "Dig," the family has once again encountered many dangers and changed their names, now going by the identities of Chip Krypton, Penny Nickelton and Captain Fabulous (the alias for Teddy Roosevelt), along with his trusty bilingual sidekick Rat-Face Roy. Pinky, as always, is simply Pinky but remains the most faithful watchdog in all the world.

Only one villain from A WHOLE NOTHER STORY follows them: "Mr. 5," Olivia's notorious killer. After being imprisoned for murder, he found a way to hunt the Cheesemans down, discovering a route through an old friend of Ethan's. Professor Boxley happens to be a scientist almost as brilliant as Ethan himself, who became concerned about the family after they failed to return. Duplicating Ethan's research, he's determined to journey back to the 17th century, but what the good professor doesn't know is that his latest assistant is actually one of the world's most devious criminal minds who now has a personal vendetta against all the Cheesemans.

Other than A Series of Unfortunate Events, there are few children's series I've read that compare to A Whole Nother Story. Its basis is in jokebook-style comedy, which makes any situation --- even the most dark and disturbing ones --- adventures to be taken lightly. Readers can be rest assured that this is an enjoyable, carefree reading experience that has an ethical focus behind it. Between chapters, Dr. Cuthbert Soup interjects his wise and varied advice, which is always relevant to the story and never all that serious. Parents needn't worry about violence or exposure issues here, and heroes are consistently altruistic, socially responsible and likable. Although teenage love is briefly addressed, it is not an issue either as this is done with an attitude of preserving virtue.

Thus far, A Whole Nother Story has proven to be a magnificent adventure with enough comedic appeal that kids will want to read it over and over again.

Reviewed by Melanie Smith on December 7, 2010

Another Whole Nother Story
by Dr. Cuthbert Soup

  • Publication Date: December 7, 2010
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
  • ISBN-10: 1599904365
  • ISBN-13: 9781599904368