Last week we announced that Max Candee’s Globaloonies 1: The Big Red Button is our Kids Corner Book of the Week and the sponsor of our student reviews and of thousands of great bargains in the Kids Book category:
Includes a professionally crafted audiobook. Look for the link inside!
Joey Papagopolis is your typical 10-year-old.
Like most boys that age, Joey has a pet chameleon named Larry and a mysterious Big Red Button that can transport the two of them through time and space to the far reaches of the planet…
Hey, wait a second, that’s not typical at all! In fact, that’s pretty amazing — which is why you will want to follow along as Joey and Larry set off on their first Big Red Button adventure.
An absent-minded wish and an accidental pressing of the button land Joey and Larry smack in the middle of a conflict between a Native American tribe and some English settlers. Yikes!
Are their lives in danger? Can Joey resolve the conflict? Will Larry teach them all how to line dance? Does Larry even know how to line dance?
The answers to these questions and more await you in the fun and fantastic adventure of THE BIG RED BUTTON.
65+ illustrated pages (may vary by device).
Humorous illustrations by Anne Zimanski.
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And here, for your reading pleasure, is our free excerpt:
Joey Papagopolis is on a mission.
He is a ten-year-old boy with a common first name and a last name nobody can ever pronounce (which, for the record, is said like this: Papa-gah-poh-liss).
What Joey Papagopolis wants more than anything is to do something — anything, as long as it’s good — that would earn him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. That would be so cool. And cool is something that Joey would very much like to be.
What got Joey wanting to be in the Book of World Records was that girl who made a mosaic out of 800 pounds of jellybeans. For real! Her name is Stephanie Logsdon, and she’s from California, USA. She was only twelve when she did it. She used two hundred and ten thousand jelly beans (210,000!) and won an art contest but didn’t get into the Guinness Book. Joey thought that was a real shame because he didn’t think anybody else had ever used that many jelly beans to make anything.
Joey was so impressed with her attempt that he even sketched it in his notebook:
But since Stephanie Logsdon didn’t get into the Book of World Records, Joey thought he’d try to do it. His parents only bought him four bags of jellybeans to start with. He ate so many of them, he threw up, so they didn’t buy him any more. Clearly, that wasn’t going to be his ticket into the Guinness fame.
After that, Joey tried to beat the world record for balancing spoons on his face. He didn’t expect it to be so hard, since the world record was only seventeen spoons:
But after trying for a week, Joey couldn’t even keep one spoon on his face. It was a lot harder than it looked. The kid that won was from Canada and broke the record set by a kid who was only nine. The nine-year-old had managed to balance sixteen spoons on his face.
Then, Joey thought about trying to break the world record for holding the most slugs in his mouth. A guy from Germany had won that by putting 400 slugs in his mouth and keeping them there for ten seconds:
But when Joey mentioned the idea to kids at school, they were so grossed out, nobody would play with him at recess for two days. That probably was a disgusting idea, and Joey realized it wouldn’t make other kids think he was cool, so he decided not to go for it.
It made his mother very happy when he told her about it later.
When Joey was in second grade, he talked his parents into letting him have a pet chameleon. He figured if he took him to school, for sure it would up his status on the popularity meter.
After the chameleon stuck out his tongue, the boys thought the chameleon was cool, but Joey… not so much. And the girls thought they were both disgusting. Well, all except Jody Bisbaum, who thought any creature with a tongue almost twice the length of its body was seriously interesting.
After she saw the chameleon that day, Jody Bisbaum went around sticking out her tongue and trying to pick things up with it. Mostly all she picked up were germs, and after being out of school for three days she stopped trying to be a human lizard.
Even though the chameleon didn’t make anyone think that Joey was really cool, Joey kept him, and they soon became best friends. Joey named him Larry, and his mom and dad got a ficus tree for Joey to keep in his room, because they read that chameleons liked ficus trees. And also because they didn’t want a lizard running around anywhere except in Joey’s room.
Larry spent his time sitting in his tree and munching crickets and worms and other things that Joey discovered chameleons liked. He slept in the chameleon-sized bed that Joey made for him.
At least that was what Larry used to do. Ever since Joey and Larry found the BIG RED BUTTON, well … life changed a lot for them both.
It all started one morning before school, when Joey was looking under his bed hoping to find a clean pair of socks without holes in them.
“I don’t know why I have to wear clean socks to school,” Joey said to Larry. “I don’t even think I have a pair without too many holes. After all, haven’t I been trying to set a Guinness record for having the most holes in my socks and still being able to wear them?”
When Joey went downstairs for breakfast that morning, his mother took one look at his big toe sticking out of his sock (well, on both feet) and marched him right back upstairs to find a different pair.
“And if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times,” she said after him, “do not bring Larry to breakfast, Joey. I will not have a lizard munching on dead insects at the breakfast table!”
“Sorry, Larry,” Joey said as he poked around under his bed. “I think she just woke up a little cranky this morning.” Usually his mother was good about having Larry around.
“Oh cool! Look at this,” Joey said as he pulled out his favorite GI Joe. “It’s Blizzard! I’ve been looking for him forever!”
Blizzard had been his dad’s GI Joe and he came with all kinds of great things like guns and skis and spiked shoes. He even had a compass. Well, he used to. Right now, he didn’t even have his shoes, much less his compass.
Joey tossed Blizzard aside while pulling out a few pairs of pants, three t-shirts, one blue tennis shoe, a half-eaten peanut butter and pickle sandwich, part of a moldy pizza, and four packs of bubble gum. No socks without holes, though.
Stretching his neck as far as he could under the bed, Joey thought he saw something in the far corner against the wall, but he couldn’t make out what it was.
“Hey, Larry, come here for a sec.”
Larry looked up, a little curious but not so much as to move quickly. He was, after all, in the middle of eating a bowl of dead crickets.
“Seriously!” Joey said. “I need your help. There’s something under here, but I don’t know what it is. It looks … round.”
Well, that got Larry’s attention because maybe — just maybe (he thought) — it was a dead mouse. They can sometimes look sort of round.
The chameleon scrambled over to the bed and, tilting his head, stuck out his tongue.
Now, when he stood straight up, Larry was about one foot tall which is just about as big as a chameleon ever gets. But his tongue was about one-and-a-half times that long, so it had quite a reach. Joey figured out once that if his dad’s tongue was in the same proportion to his body as Larry’s, his dad’s tongue would be about nine feet long (because his dad is six feet tall). Just thinking about that made Joey laugh. Can you imagine a grown up with a nine-foot tongue? Man, that’d be in the Guinness Book of World Records for sure!
Just as Joey started to laugh, thinking about his dad with a nine-foot tongue, Larry’s tongue darted out and did what chameleons’ tongues do, which is to form a little suction cup at the end. Then, grabbing what he hoped was going to be a sweet baby mouse, Larry drew his tongue back in, brought out the object, and dropped it at Joey’s feet.
It wasn’t a mouse at all. It wasn’t even close to being a mouse. It was just a round, red, boxy, plastic sort of thing.
“What’s that?” Joey asked, quite sure he’d never seen it before. But before either one of them could explore it, Joey’s mom shouted up the steps, “Joey Jethro Papagopolis, you better have those clean socks on and be ready for school, or you’ll miss the bus!”
With that, Joey stuffed his feet in his shoes and, hoping his mom wouldn’t ask about the socks again, bolted down the stairs. Larry shrugged his shoulders and hopped back onto his ficus tree. Whatever the object was, it wasn’t a mouse, so it wasn’t of any interest to him. He figured he’d just finish his cricket breakfast and take a nap until Joey got back from school.
To tell the truth, most of the time Joey wasn’t all that crazy about school.
He was in fifth grade and there were way more girls in his class than boys. Most of the time he thought girls were kind of boring, although more than once Jody Bisbaum did make him laugh. She didn’t seem very interested in things most of the girls liked. She never polished her nails in weird colors (well, she didn’t polish her nails at all), and she didn’t care about making her hair look good. She did always ask about Larry though, which Joey thought was very nice. And one time, she brought a dead baby mouse to school that her cat had caught and said she wanted Larry to have it.
Two things Joey did like about school were social studies and geography. He liked learning about people in different places, and most of the time, he thought he’d like to travel to places that he read about. The only places Joey had ever been were Disneyland when he was five and his aunt Serena’s alpaca farm. The alpaca farm was cool because the alpacas hummed really loud, and they were all trained to poop in one place. Joey talked about that for almost a week, until his parents asked him how he would feel if the alpacas told everyone how he did his business.
“Okay, everybody,” the geography teacher said. “Eyes up here.”
Joey’s geography teacher, Mr. Cleveland, was the coolest teacher he’d ever had. He was always doing things that got kids to pay attention.
Like the time he taught them how to make didgeridoos out of paper tubes, when they were studying Australian instruments. Joey’s didgeridoo had a big opening, and he painted it really cool colors that made it look a lot like Larry. That was all well and good, until one day he left it in his room and Larry, thinking there might be a relative in there somewhere, poked his head inside.
By the time Joey got back home from school, Larry had been walking around all day with the didgeridoo stuck up to his neck. Joey had to blow on it really hard until finally Larry got blown out, which made him fly across the room and slam into a wall. After that, Larry didn’t want anything to do with wind instruments. That was too bad, because after studying about Scotland, Joey thought maybe he would like to play the bagpipes someday.
“There’s a lake, right here in Massachusetts, with the longest name of any lake in the whole world,” Mr. Cleveland was saying. Kids thought it was hysterical that they had a geography teacher whose last name was Cleveland, so mostly he asked people to call him Mr. C, just to avoid the jokes about being named after a city in Ohio.
“The lake’s name has forty-five letters in it, and fifteen of them are the letter G. You will have twenty minutes to find out three things. One, what is the name of the lake? Two, what does the name mean? And three, how do you pronounce it correctly? First one to come back with three right answers gets ten extra credit points on your next test.”
Everyone looked around. Seriously? Ten free points on the next test? For sure Joey was going to do his best to find those three answers. He could use the ten extra points.
“Don’t run to the library or to the computer lab. Walk or you’ll be disqualified,” Mr. C said. “Are you ready? One, grab your notebooks and pencils. Two, make sure you notice the time so you are back in twenty minutes. Three… go!”
With that, everybody left the classroom, pretty sure they were going to be the one to win those ten free points.