Miller Sanford is trying hard--really really hard--to be good. To be mature--to be responsible. To prove to his very protective mother that 12 is old enough to be on his own at their town fair. But he doesn't expect his perfect plan to prove how grown-up he is to backfire until the best possible day of his life starts morphing into the Worst. Day. Ever.
I loved The Universe of Fair for so many reasons, it's hard to begin. It has a wonderful, funny protagonist who tells his story as only he could. It has a cast of hilarious characters, from an annoying yet lovable little sister to a mysterious old man who just might be a ghost. Unlike a lot of the MG titles I've been reading lately, it's aimed at younger readers, but it never feels like it was--it's just a kid telling about a couple disastrously comical days in his life. The illustrations (by Frank Dormer) interspersed throughout are a great addition to the overall feel, with such spot-on facial expressions that I started cracking up every time I saw one.Those are the big reasons why I loved it--and why you will love it! But it also has a special place in my heart because I heard the first chapter when the ink was still fresh on the page, so to speak. The author, the lovely Leslie Bulion, is a member of my local SCBWI group, and one of the most incredible, kind, encouraging, inspiring, giving and talented people I've been privileged to know. I loved Miller's voice from the first time I heard it, and I've been craving the entire book for what seems like forever. (Actually just a couple years in reality.)
PLUS, Frank Dormer is a member of the same critique group. I've watched him doodle during meetings, and even his doodles make me laugh.
PLUS, the fair in the story is based on the fair we attend every year, and which is pretty much one of our favorite things ever. Just crack open the book and you can taste the cotton candy and corn-on-the-cob and freshly-made doughnuts...
Mmmm....why does reading make me so hungry?