Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Review: Julius Caesar Brown and the Green Gas Mystery

Happy Wednesday, everyone. It's hump day, yo! I'm excited because my students have a benchmark today and tomorrow. Mwah ha ha ha! I say that now, but by the time I hit lunch, I just want to talk to my kids and I can't. Blergh.

Today on the blog I'm reviewing Ace Hansen's novel, Julius Caesar Brown and the Green Gas Mystery.

What an awesome cover! It is definitely kid friendly. Here's the blurb for the book.

When a mysterious green gas crisis breaks wind, the Global Air Group (GAG) offers a million-dollar prize to the first person to discover the cause. Julius Caesar Brown dreams of winning the cash so he can pay off Jake the Snake, the blackmailing bully who threatens to ruin his chances with the cutest girl in fifth grade. But Julius can barely pass a math test, let alone solve an international scientific mystery. What he needs is money. Fast. His mom volunteers him to help the Zombie Lady. Yeah. The crazy woman down the street who every kid knows eats boys’ brains. But Miss Crabtree’s no zombie. And winning the million-dollar prize may not be as far-fetched as Julius once thought.

What I Loved:

1. Yay! We have a middle grade that is so easily accessible for ALL of my kids! Yes, I teach kids who are 11-13 (high school on the weekends). However, sometimes people fail to realize that 7th graders love a good fart joke as much as the next kid. Also, I love my kids so very much, and my loving them leads me to find books for my lower readers. In my line of work, well over half of my kids have an AR reading level of 2.3 or lower. I adore that this is a super easy contemporary read that is interesting and humorous without being a chapter book. The plot moves quickly without drooping in the middle. I'm already thinking of ordering a couple paperback copies for my shelf.

2. Julius is quite well-imagined. I laughed aloud at some parts (ex: him having to run away from his best friend's sister who has a crush on him and the fact that he bought Farty Pants). He has a spunky personality and the boy voice is spot on. I even took my Kindle to school in order to read a few parts to my kids. Then, of course, they asked if Farty Pants are real. Sigh. If only.

3. I'm pretty impressed with the realistic quality of the novel. While the fact that the MC's parents are separated and arguing every time the see each other is mentioned throughout the novel, it doesn't detract from its humor. Many of my kids come from single parent homes (as did I). I thought Ace/Angelina did an excellent job of portraying how this separation can hurt a child without being preachy. It makes Julius that much more approachable as a character. I, too, remember many days when I wished my parents would get back together.

4. I LOVE zombie lady (Miss Crabtree). She anchored the story in the same way the crazy guy on the corner did in When You Reach Me. And the friendship between Miss Crabtree and Julius is one to be treasured.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. I ADORED it! Go out and buy your copy today. :)

And, don't you know, I just can't wait to give away a free copy along with an extra special surprise! Come visit Friday to enter the Rafflecopter contest!


  1. Glad you loved it! But I have to burst your bubble. Your kids will be happy to know that FARTY PANTS ARE REAL!!!

  2. Hahahahaha! Crap! Now they will want to see it.