Fame, Fortune, and the Bran Muffins of Doom

Written and illustrated by Marty Kelley

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Simon takes life seriously, very seriously. When he decides that he and his friends will achieve fame and, more importantly, fortune by winning the school talent show, he goes about it seriously.None of them can sing, dance or play a musical instrument, but those are simply problems to solve. Simon is sure he can come up with a solution as long as Mike McAlpine and his minion-friends leave Simon alone. They don’t.

Then there is Stacy, a girl who would be cute if she would quit interrupting Simon. Even Simon’s friends do not see what he is trying to do and start fooling around. Silence, he tells them. It is always up to Simon to keep everyone on track. Then Mrs. Annand yells at them when they try to rehearse and even throws hard bran muffins, interrupting and possibly causing a concussion. In spite of all these problems, Simon gets the group on stage with an act of sorts.

This is perfect for the core curriculum mission of challenging students to read at a higher grade level, although it has a 2nd grade Lexile measure. The situations seem better suited for the 4th grade audience. Simon and all the characters are extremes. Simon is the smart kid who uses big words and bosses everyone around. The story is in first-person from Simon’s point of view so be ready for a lot of bossing around. Munch is the gross kid who will eat anything, so he is really gross. Ralph is the sickest sick kid of all time. Mike is the stupidest bully and his minions are even more stupid. Mrs. Douglass has checked out far more than the usual retired-in-place teacher. The only “normal” person is Stacy and she’s amused by the whole crowd. Even with all this silliness, the story comes together with a satisfying ending. Good fare for the Captain Underpants devotee, but readers might learn some words along the way. There’s a Simon glossary at the end which bumps up the reading level substantially. It would be a good class read aloud since a teacher will be more able to read most of the big words without stopping. There are a few challenging ones even for grown-ups. Check out Simon’s plans: (http://www.simonsplans.com/) where you can play a game or check up on his latest schemes.
Fame Fortune and Bran Muffins

  • TITLE: Fame, Fortune, and the Bran Muffins of Doom
  • AUTHOR: Marty Kelley
  • ILLUSTRATOR: Marty Kelley
  • PUBLISHER: Holiday House, 2012
  • REVIEWER: Risa Brown
  • EDITION: Hardcover, 154 p.
  • ISBN: 978-0-8234-2606-5
  • LEXILE: 660

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