February 21, 2018

Brass Monkeys Book Review by Sel Richard

Brass Monkeys by Terry Caszatt

A rollicking adventure about a student in a school being overtaken by boring teachers, Brass Monkeys is a ride that your child will surely enjoy.  Reminiscent of Percy Jackson with a plethora of unique characters and fast-paced plot twists, Brass Monkeys is a page turner filled with exciting action, fierce battles and fun cliff-hangers.  Eugene Wise is a slightly nerdy but spunky eighth-grader who has just transferred to a new school in Michigan and is trying his best to be cool.  His efforts to reinvent himself land him in a predicament that forces him to assume the role of savior for the entire Grindsville Middle School.

As with much young adult fiction, adults must take a leap of faith to believe in the fantastical world Mr. Caszatt creates in Brass Monkeys, but children will not have that problem.  The setting of the underworld, where the “bad” teachers are trying to take over the world, is built with discarded school supplies, a wonderfully original environment where our heroes and heroines must battle dunes of paper, a lake filled with cafeteria food sludge, chalk pistols and eraser guns.  Also refreshing is the absence of the violence pervading much of young adult media today.  There is no killing, blood nor gore.  Instead, the characters must deal with such horrors as memory loss, depression, confusion, boredom and despair.

The message Mr. Caszatt tries to convey comes through loud and clear:  Learning should be fun and inspiring, not dull and monotonous.  Hopefully, this is a book that will inspire young readers to indulge in a little respite from the drudgery of homework and delight in a world where the students gain control over their school and bring some joy back to education.

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