The Fantastic Family Whipple is a cute middle grade novel, but do be warned that it is the opening to yet another series.
Young readers are going to love The Fantastic Family Whipple, I have little doubt. World records are so compelling to children for reasons I don't quite fathom now that I'm an adult. Even so, I remember marveling over the Guinness Book of World Records just like everyone else did back in elementary school. In library's I've worked out, the Guinness Book has always been one of the most popular check outs. Kids love this stuff, and they will love this book.
Even better for young readers, the records being set in The Fantastic Family Whipple are all ridiculous, which will no doubt have the young readers chortling. For example, one of the attempted records involves a hamster-manned rocket flight and another involves hopping up and down on one leg. Even better, the Whipples participate in an Unsafe Sports competition, which I am sure will captivate young imaginations.
The cover really captures the light-hearted humor, silliness, and bombastic nature of The Fantastic Family Whipple. In addition to the hijinks, there's also a mystery for our utterly un-illustrious young hero to solve. Arthur Whipple is the only unremarkable member of the Whipple family, but it's his turn to step up and be important. Also, thanks to their new neighbors, the Goldwins, Arthur's family may be joining him in his losing streak.
What Left Me Wanting More:
I did like The Fantastic Family Whipple, but this is one of those middle grade novels that I think loses a lot of its charm for an adult audience. The jokes and the situations are perfect humor for children, but, while entertaining, didn't drive me to the heights of glee that I think they would a child. Also, I would have liked to see a bit more progress made on the mystery plot line in this book. The ending felt arbitrary and sudden.
The Final Verdict:
If you know younger readers who love humor and can't stop reading the Guinness Book of World Records, they will love The Fantastic Family Whipple. As an adult, the humor wasn't quite my speed, so I probably will not be returning for the sequel.