|Mechanical mind of John Coggin|
Author: Teele, Elinor
When Great Aunt Beauregard announces her intentions to bring budding engineer John into the family business of coffin manufacturing for the rest of his natural life--and, worse, to teach his sister Page to embalm--John decides enough is enough, and the two of them head out on the lam, maybe joining the circus.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.20
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 182293
Kirkus Reviews (01/01/16)
School Library Journal (01/01/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/05/16)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 01/01/2016 Gr 4–6—Since the death of their parents, John and Page Coggin live with their Great-Aunt Beauregard, who is obsessed with the family business: coffin-making. After many grueling hours at this trade, John develops some sharp coffin-making skills but is thwarted in his true ambition of engineering fantastical machines. His great-aunt finally pushes things too far by suggesting that young Page can help prepare the corpses for burial and insisting that John sign a mysterious contract pledging himself to the family business for life. The siblings make a daring escape with the help of an accident-prone circus acrobat, and so the adventures begin. Teele has populated her fictional world with whimsical characters who would easily be at home in a Roald Dahl book: prickly circus performers, a sweet but overtaxed baker, friendly railcar hoppers, and an ardent archaeologist—to name a few. Even those with the crustiest exterior have hearts of gold, except, of course, the bad guys, who are truly horrible in the grand tradition of melodrama. John and Page have a realistic and compelling sibling relationship—they annoy each other but care for each other deeply—but most of the other characters are too archetypical to be relatable. The combination of many characters and plot twists may leave some young readers confused, but those who can embrace the madcap without worrying about the details will find some measure of magic in this title. VERDICT A charming fantasy/adventure to add to larger middle grade collections.—Gesse Stark-Smith, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 05/01/2016 When the family business is coffin-making, chances are your childhood is a bit bleak. This is certainly the case for John and Page Coggin: John has been forced to work making coffins since he was quite young. Now his nasty great-aunt Beauregard—the siblings’ guardian—wants Page to earn her keep by dressing and applying makeup to the “customers.” When a mysterious stranger offers John a way out, he and Page take it, encountering a circus, a bakery, and, ultimately, an archaeological dig. But Beauregard always seems to be right behind John and Page, ready to enslave them forever in the coffin business. Adventures, high stakes, and risks propel this debut novel forward at a breakneck pace. Eccentric characters, mean guardians, and improbable situations, many involving poop, will appeal to middle-grade readers. Pair this with The Doldrums, by Nicholas Gannon (2015), and Circus Mirandus, by Cassie Beasley (2015), for readers who enjoy the unexpected in offbeat adventures. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.