Baked beans, bog mutants and interdimensional travel are the ingredients in this hilarious middle grade debut novel by John Cusik.
I listened to the audio version of the book, which I highly recommend. The narrator, Gary Furlong, does a remarkable job of giving life to the full cast of strange and quirky characters with the added bonus of doing so with a British RP accent.
The story begins in the 21st century. Lola Ray, a typical, responsible older sister, is looking forward to a vacation away from the annoyances and hassles of her everyday life. However, at the airport something mysteriously goes wrong while passing through the security gates and Lola is flung far into the future, a thousand years into the future.
The first person she meets is Phineas T. Fogg, a boy who has been kept in a high- tech apartment his entire life while his parents are away on galactic adventures. Together, Lola and Phin are tasked with unravelling the secret behind a “strange and evil” force that they believe is trying to destroy the universe.
This book is funny at every turn! It is fast-paced and has just the right amount of suspense to keep you listening (or turning the page). Lola and Phin are likeable, relatable characters, but for me the real stars of the book are the offbeat 31st century space beings. This is a futuristic Wizard of Oz story with loads of kid-appropriate humor that adults are sure to appreciate also.
Even though there is a lot of humorous silliness in this book, there are also several discussion worthy themes: friendship, overcoming fears and finding one’s courage, and loving imperfect people.
I think Dimension Why would appeal to a wide audience of young readers (ages 8-12) and would be a fun way to introduce the science fiction genre. The story ends on a cliffhanger and the second book in the series, Dimension Why #2: Revenge of the Sequel, is slated to be released October 2021.
Overall, this book is a terrific choice if you are looking for middle grade fantasy/science fiction with appeal factors for a wide range of readers.