Cheesie Mack Is Cool in a Duel

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Cheesie Mack Is Cool in a Duel
Author(s)
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Genre(s)
Age Range
10+
Release Date
June 26, 2012
ISBN
978-0375864384
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Cheesie and Georgie are back, and this time they're off to the greatest summer camp in Maine. As the oldest of the Little Guy campers, they'll get to make the campfires and choose the sports teams. It's sure to be their best summer yet!

Then disaster strikes. Cheesie and Georgie are put in a cabin with the Big Guy campers, including Cheesie's archenemy, Kevin Welch. Now the youngest—and smallest—of the Big Guys, Cheesie has no choice but to use his brains to fight Kevin's brawn—he challenges the bully to a Cool Duel. The adventure that follows includes a toilet on a wall, a headless skateboarder, a garter snake mustache, and the scariest ghost story ever told. Will Cheesie survive to start middle school?

With plenty of lists, drawings, and made-up words, Cheesie—with a little help from Steve Cotler—tells the story of the best worst summer ever.

Editor reviews

2 reviews

Cheesie Mack is Just Plain Cool
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0
CHEESIE MACK IS COOL IN A DUEL is exactly what it says on the tin: fun, tasty, kid-friendly fare, with a hint of nutrition but not enough to spoil the taste. I chomped it down, and enjoyed every single bite.

I think COOL IN A DUEL is an even better book than the first in the series, Cheesie Mack is Not a Genius or Anything, although I enjoyed that too. This second outing for the intrepid Cheesie seemed more tightly plotted. I really wanted to know how the Cool Duel (between Cheesie and an older boy) was going to end. On the one hand, the conventions of the genre suggest that Cheesie should triumph. However, the events leading up to the final, fatal moment do not bode well for our hero. Read the book to discover how it actually falls out, as I will not be so ill-mannered as to spoil that satisfying twist.

The asides (mostly vocabulary lessons and invitations to view his website) are well-incorporated into the flow of the text, so do not jar and the various reasons for visiting the Cheesie Mack website are clever and appealing. However, the vocab thing (Cheesy loves big words) is one of the few elements of this series that doesn't appeal to me. It feels over-used. Of course writers love words. Of course we want kids to love and use wonderful, precise, satisfying words. But the big-word-loving character who is a vehicle for introducing such words to the reader is a predictable convention. I sympathize with the writer who finds it hard to resist the temptation to employ this device, but, o writer, resist harder.

For anyone tempted to draw a parallel between Cheesie Mack (CM) and the Wimpy Kid (WK), on the one hand, there's clearly some justification. Both characters are small middle-school boys trying to navigate the increasingly tricky world of social interactions, both with girls and with their male peers. Both the CM and WK series are non-threatening, easy to read, illustrated with line drawings and funny. However, I think CM blows the WK out of the water. The WK is the ultimate unreliable narrator. The WK thinks he's all that -- but he's often a bit of a jerk, and he's a fickle friend. CM is not a jerk. His friendships are genuine, his narration trustworthy. Give me piles of CM any day over a helping of WK.

CHEESIE MACK IS COOL IN A DUEL is exactly what the summer reading doctor ordered, and would make the perfect accompaniment to a hammock, a glass of lemonade and a lazy summer day.
Good Points
Way better than Wimpy Kid, but just as fun
Easy to read
Funny
Boy-friendly without being boy-centric
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Summer Camp
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
3.0
This sequel to Cheesie Mack is Not a Genius or Anything arrives just in time for summer. Cheesie (real name, Ronald) is finally off to his grandfather's summer camp with his friend Georgie, and looking forward to all of it. However, when they arrive, they find out that there was no room in their regular cabin for them, so they are put in with slightly older boys who are not happy to have them, including Kevin, Cheesie's arch nemesis. Cheesie challenges Kevin to a "cool duel" (much the same way as he has a point battle with his sister), and there is a running tally of their activities. Camp activities and schemes abound, and Cheesie and Georgie so their best to survive the summer and make it to middle school.
Good Points
Lots of action and goofiness. I do appreciate that there is actually a Cheesie Mack web site, which is mentioned a lot. This would be good for fans of The Fourth Stall.
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