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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Great Books for Boys: Meet Alfred Kropp

If you're looking for a good action-packed adventure book with sword wielding monks, high speed car chases, lots of blood and gore, sweeping helicopter rides, and an unexpected hero who gives you a few laughs and manages to save the world from destruction, look no further. Alfred Kropp is here. Oh, yeah.

This fifteen-year-old oversized underachiever, who is self-admittedly "not too quick on the uptake," will make you smirk and cheer as his bumbling ways turn into pure heroics through chance and necessity.

Rick Yancey, author of Book 1: The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp (2005) and Book 2: Alfred Kropp: The Seal of Solomon (2007), has written entertaining books boys are just gonna love to read. The cool thing was I felt like I could be watching these books in a movie...these books clip along at a fast pace with definitive action. Reluctant readers, awkward teens and dreamers will be encouraged by the "cinematic" thrill of Alfred's adventures and heroics. I was a little shocked when I first started reading the descriptions of the gruesome gore, but once I got past that, I realized much is still left to the imagination.

I have to admit, I couldn't wait to read The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp, once I found out that Arthurian legend would be infused throughout the book. I loved King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table as a kid. How cool is it that Alfred, a fifteen-year-old oversized "loser", is the one who easily manages to get Excalibur, King Arthur's magical sword, out of a secure location. You just know he's destined for something big, whether he's ready for it, or not.

Book 2, Alfred Kropp: Seal of Solomon, is not for the faint of heart. Even though Alfred saved the world in Book 1, he's considered to be a crazy misfit in school. Luck is on his side when a beautiful girl befriends him in school. Unfortunately for Alfred, he gets kidnapped and thrust into the center of a world crisis. The Seal of Solomon has been stolen. Demons, cooped up for thousands of years in the Holy Vessel, are released and ready to annihilate the world.

I have to say, despite the violence in both books, I enjoyed reading them. Alfred's wisecracks, his hearfelt sincerity and his willingness to go above and beyond to do right by his blunders, make Alfred an endearing and cool hero. Yes, these books are a little over the top and at times the storyline falters, but, overall, what boy wouldn't love to visualize being the hero who makes specially trained adults look like idiotic buffoons, and while he's at it, saves the world from total destruction? Oh, and by the way, on his way to saving the world...becomes a great sword fighter, finds out he's the last son of Sir Lancelot, inherits a gazillion dollars, drives the fastest car in the world, hurtles at break neck speed in a death defying sky dive...each adventure is just as thrilling as the next. Reluctant readers, hero wannabees, boys and some girls will enjoy reading Alfred Kropp's adventures. And really, isn't that ultimately what we want for our children? To enjoy reading?

And that is what Rick Yancey does well. He draws the reader into the total reading experience, so the action unfolds right before your very eyes. Who wants to read hum drum books, if you can read a fun, action-packed adventure book? James Bond, make some room...Alfred Kropp is here to stay.


The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp
Author: Rick Yancey
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books (September 15, 2005)
Recommended for Ages: Grade 8 and above
Reading Source: Borrowed book from the library

Alfred Kropp: The Seal of Solomon
Author: Rick Yancey
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books (May 1, 2007)
Recommended for Ages: Grade 8 and above
Reading Source: Borrowed book from the library

5 comments:

Charlotte said...

This was one I put out in my library's "Now your read Harry..." display, and no one read checked it out. Whaa!

heather said...

Thanks for the review. I'll have to check it out.

Erin said...

I am so giving these to my brother. Thanks for the rec.

t.j. said...

Hey! I just went over to Amazon.com to check out the book after reading your review. Looks great. Thanks.

HipWriterMama said...

Charlotte,
Hopefully someone will check the books out. As you know, they are fun action thrillers. Do boys just not read anymore?

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Heather,
I hope you do read the Alfred Kropp books.

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Erin,
You'll have to let me know if your brother likes these books. And what I found amazing was the lack of foul words. Action, violence, yes. But how cool is it, no foul words? Or at least...none that I can remember.

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T.J.,
Glad you checked out the book on Amazon.com. Hope you enjoy the book!