MMGM: The Universe of Fair, by Leslie Bulion

(Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays came to be when author Shannon Messenger decided to give wonderful Middle Grade stories the attention they deserved. Check out her blog for a list of other participants!)

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?


  1. This sounds like incredible fun, very helpful as my kids are starting to be interested in more than Curious George. Thanks for sharing this! :)

  2. I'd been craving the rest too, since hearing those first chapters! Hooray for Leslie and Frank!

  3. Fun to be on the tour of this book together! The cast of characters is delightful. And I loved Miller's voice too.

    How cool that Leslie is in your local SCBWI and the Fair in the book is based on yours!

  4. This is definitely an extra special book, Faith, and how fun that you *know* the people who wrote and drew it! I will look for it, because even though my children are older, they enjoy humorous books for younger children ... and I especially do not want them to grow up too quickly.

  5. Right now you are sooo cool because you know the author and illustrator behind this book. :)
    I hope my library has a copy. If not, I'm requesting one.

  6. Reading a book that you are connected to doubles the joy. In your case, triples-the author, the illustrator, and the fair!

  7. This book sounds great and I have heard such wonderful things about it! I love that you have known about the book for so long and your connection to the author and illustrator! How fun! Thanks for sharing- it sounds special.

  8. I'm so incredibly touched by your post, Faith. Thank you. It was wonderful to see you guys at the FAIR! Yippee! I hope, despite the weather, you all had fun.
    xoLeslie B.


Post a Comment

Comments make me happy.

Popular Posts