Henry Cicada's Extraordinary Elktonium Escapade

Henry Cicada's Extraordinary Elktonium Escapade
Age Range
Release Date
February 19, 2016
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From David Teague, the coauthor of Saving Lucas Biggs, comes a boisterous and funny novel about friendship and self-discovery that will send readers on the wackiest adventure of their lives!

It's no surprise when the doghouse in Henry Cicada's backyard starts glowing. After all, it's made out of Elktonium, a luminescent green metal his mom invented. But Henry is surprised when the doghouse transports him into the imagination of a twelve-year-old girl named Lulu. So surprised, in fact, he forgets his whole plan to be just ordinary.

But as Henry gets to know Lulu, he realizes she's a real girl who is in real trouble. Henry knows he has to help Lulu, but doing something so heroic, so courageous, so audacious . . . well, it would mean abandoning his quest to be ordinary once and for all.

This wacky, heartfelt adventure emphasizes the importance of just being yourself . . . no matter how unordinary that may be.

Editor review

1 review
One wacky adventure
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Henry and his father move from Philadelphia to a small Texa town because the father is so overwrought by the (cancer?) death of the mother that he loses his job as a librarian because he spends all of his time trying to find a use for the metal the mother discovered, Elktonium, which is basically useless. Henry goes to school with Elktonium shoes and meets Theotis T. Otis, the school bully, as well as bullying victim Jurgen Mintfarm. He also finds Pim Pom, an abandoned, three legged dog. In trying to find a place for the dog to sleep, he puts the dog in an Elktonium pyramid, and is soon whisked away to Raisin, Texas, where he gets caught up in drama with Lulu the Tire Giant and her niece Tiffany. Lulu is trying to get Tiffany to because a ballet dancer since her parents are up in space. Henry goes back home and finds out that his mother might have known that the Elktonium helped people travel to other dimensions. He decides he must rescue Tiffany, so borrows General Hedgerow's motorcycle with a sidecar and takes off with Jurgen to Raisin. When they find out that Tiffany is heading to a competition in Nowhere, Texas, they are very worried because it is a ghost town, and Tiffany might become a ghost. When Lulu finds out the plan, she kidnaps Pim Pom, but is eventually tricked into going into the pyramid and ends up in jail.
Good Points
This was one wacky adventure, with plenty of humorous moments and laugh-out-loud silly escapades that younger readers will find amusing.

For readers who like books with a touch of spurious science, like Carmen's Fizzopolis or Scieszka's Frank Einstein books, this will give them a super goofy, frenetic, space and time dimension bending adventure. It reads a little like Roald Dahl, with the super evil Lulu, who seems to have little motivation for belittling Tiffany, as well as the evil bully Theotis and the incomprehensible guidance conselour Skander, who cites Marlin Perkins in his dealing's with Henry.

This may also appeal to readers who like ostensibly funny books that hide a heaping serving of sadness, like Gephardt's Death by Toilet Paper or Silberberg's Milo, Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze. Since Henry and his father find out about the real uses for Elktonium at the end of the book, and they also now have Tiffany on their hands, I suspect there might even be a sequel.
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