“Here is a story that’s stranger than strange
Before we begin you may want to arrange:
a comfortable seat,
and maybe some cocoa and something to eat.
I’ll warn you, of course, before we commence,
my story is eerie and full of suspense,
brimming with danger and narrow escapes,
and creatures of many remarkable shapes.
Dragons and ogres and gorgons and more,
and creatures you’ve not even heard of before.
And faraway places? There’s plenty of those!
(And menacing villains to tingle your toes.)
So ready your mettle and steady your heart.
It’s time for my story’s mysterious start…”
So begins Robert Paul Weston’s 100% delightful and over-the-top clever novel-in-verse, Zorgamazoo. I don’t see how you couldn’t fall head over heels for this book. It is pure fun. It’s like Roald Dahl with a sprinkle of Philip Reeve and of course, more than a nod to the big rhyme man himself, Dr. Seuss. It’s about Katrina Katrell, a bold little girl who escapes her nasty nanny, Mrs. Krabone (Krabby for short), and signs herself up for a wild adventure in which she helps a strange creature named Morty Yorgle to save the missing Zorgles of Zorgamazoo.
And did I mention, it’s all in verse! Fantastic, I say! I’ll bet you’re thinking, “Mr. Robert Paul Weston probably writes verse that is mostly good, but who could keep up that rhythm for 283 pages?” Answer? Mr. Robert Paul Weston. There’s nothing forced or awkward about these rhymes, quite the opposite. You’ll start reading and you will have to start reading out loud. Have to. It’s that irresistible. This is probably why Zorgamazoo was named an E.B. White Read Aloud Honor book for Older Readers this year. I don’t see how it couldn’t have been. It’s kinda magical. It will remind you of your distant youth. It made me think of one of my absolute favourite books as a child, Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes.
I plan to read Zorgamazoo aloud to approximately 31 nine year olds starting in about a week. I think it will make back-to-school just a little bit nicer for all concerned. All other Grade 4 teachers should consider doing the same.
Now check out these delicious Zorgamazoo goodies:
Zorgamazoo is a Razorbill book, published by Penguin Young Readers Group.