Review sponsored by William Weger
The Children’s Book Review | June 21, 2016
Written and Illustrated by William Weger
Age Range: 9-12
Publisher: Mill City Press, Inc. (2015)
What to expect: Adventure, Inventions, New York, Fantasy
Author William Weger sets out to encourage readers to think outside of the box with Marshmallows Over Manhattan: A Novel, which grew from a bedtime story that he used to tell his daughter.
It begins in Manhattan with the worst day ever and ends there with a downpour of marshmallows—everything in between takes place in the fantastical Kingdom of Menlo. Mad Science Day is supposed to be Hugo Doppel’s day to shine when he showcases his wacky, and unpredictable, weather machine. When his demonstration does not go according to plan and his nemesis Baskerfish and the entire school laugh at him, Hugo gives up on his dream of being an inventor. Shortly thereafter, he discovers an old subway token while walking through Times Square in New York City—which he hates—and he decides to make a wish.
“He stood still for a moment and flipped the token high in the air. It landed in the palm of his hand. Rubbing the token between his fingers, he wished out loud.”
Before he knows it, The City that Never Sleeps becomes quiet and solitary. A train comes along and takes Hugo to the Junkyard of Goofy Inventions, where he meets a bunch of resourceful, zany and mythical characters and creatures. There is Inventaur the Centaur; Mr. Pendleton, who sees or predicts the future; and furry little creatures known as Willow Weeplers. When he receives a note and a box (containing a map, wand, and spell book) from Magnus Winterbach the Wizard, Hugo knows there is work to be done to save Box Island from the Skull Face Witch and reverse her terrible ways. It’s also possible that, in doing so, he may be able to save Manhattan from a terrible blizzard with his wacky weather machine.
Somewhat reminiscent of classics The Phantom Tollbooth and The Magic Pudding, William Weger has certainly weaved a busy tale with many characters for readers to meet along the way. Each character is purposeful, creates interest, and provides insight to Hugo’s voyage. Weger is highly imaginative and elicits chuckles with his easy humor. His creativity and plot resourcefulness can be seen plain and clear in Hoot and Howl’s menu at the Hoot and Howl Bakery. The menu includes Make Me Laugh Muffins and Blue Merry Pie and the stop at the bakery is where Hugo and his growing entourage obtain an important artifact. The food also comes in handy when resisting a strike from the Skull Face Witch. Weger includes little songs that are punchy and add liveliness to the story. The map of The Kingdom of Menlo and the simple (sometimes interestingly awkward) and entertaining illustrations are a nice touch, too.
If you’re looking for a story where new beginnings are encouraged, the Theory of Tenacity is taught, and a subtle message of freedom can be found, then look no further than Marshmallows Over Manhattan: A Novel. Plus, 10% of the author’s royalties for this book go to charities and initiatives that encourage children to read and write.
Add this book to your collection: Marshmallows Over Manhattan: A Novel
About William Weger
Bill Weger is a former speechwriter and journalist. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of Maryland and a Master of Arts in Public Communications from American University.
He has received more than 60 awards for communications excellence, including a top Hermes Creative Award for his nonfiction book, Inspire Good: Nonprofit Marketing for a Better World. His company, Classic Booklovers (classicbooklovers.com), fuses art, classic literature, and fashion.
He is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Bill enjoys reading, writing, running, and spending time with his family.
Dedicated Reviews allow authors and illustrators to gain prompt visibility for their work. The author of “Marshmallows Over Manhattan,” William Weger, sponsored this non-biased review. Learn more about getting a book review …
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