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“Looks like the S.S.M.P. is back in business! Everything may be different now. But maybe that’s not such a bad thing,” Alexander. –Brute-Cake
The Binder of Doom #1
by Troy Cummings
With no monsters to fight, Alexander and his friends have drifted apart. The Super Secret Monster Patrol used to protect the town from monsters. Without monsters, Alexander is dreading summer vacation. In order to keep Alexander busy, his father has signed him up for a summer camp at the library.
But then Alexander starts finding super creepy monster cards. He’s convinced that the monsters are back, but Rip and Nikki don’t believe him. When Rip invites his friends over to see his new house, the kids decide to explore the attic. When a brute-cake jumps out of a can, the friends know that they must fight the monster together.
Fans of The Notebook of Doom Series will look forward to reading about the S.S.M.P.’s return. The same monster-fighting friends come together to fight new, non-scary monsters. Instead of having a Notebook of Doom to explain the monsters, Alexander keeps finding monster cards that have important information about each monster. Each card is illustrated on one page and has pictures of the monsters, their habitat, their diet, and more exciting information.
Even though the brute-cake wants to turn other monsters into statues, the spooky scenes are more funny than scary. Every page has large, black-and-white pictures that bring the action to life. The large text is comprised of short sentences and easy vocabulary. The Binder of Doom is a companion series; however, readers who have not read The Notebook of Doom will be able to understand Brute-Cake’s plot. The story’s dialogue and use of onomatopoeias makes Brute-Cake a great book to read aloud. Full of friendship, mystery, and a funny fighting fruitcake, Brute-Cake will be devoured by independent readers. Readers who like monsters and adventure should add The Yeti Files by Kevin Sherry to their reading list.
- Rip, Alexander, and Nikki find a monster brute-cake. The brute-cake heats up the kitchen and then “the cake swelled up until it was the size of a baby elephant. Then – WHAM – it socked Rip in the jaw with nut-covered fist. . . Nikki jabbed the brute-cake with her spatula. Crumbs flew everywhere. . . The cake shoved Nikki into Alexander and Rip. They stumbled backward into a rack of pots and pans.” The scene is described over two pages.
- When Nikki charges the brute-cake, the monster “blasted Nikki with a gush of warm glaze. Instantly, she became a shiny white statue.”
- Rip and Alexander go after the brute-cake. “The monster yanked an enormous candied walnut from its own gut. WHOOMP! It chucked the nut at Rip.” Rip takes an ant out of his pocket. The ant grows to a gigantic size. The brute-cake tries to crush Alexander. “The brute-cake jumped in the air, directly above Alexander. As the monster came down, Alexander rolled sideways. . .”
- The brute-cake charged towards Alexander. “Alexander dove aside at the last second. The giant cake rammed into the drill-pickle’s pointy drill and—PLOMPFF! The monster crumbled to pieces.” The last battle scene is described over five pages.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Rip calls Alexander a “weenie” one time.
- Crud is used three times. For example, Alexander thought, “This crust crud on my shirt must be icing!”
- While in Rip’s attic, Alexander opens a tin can. Then, “Plonk! The tin burst open. A small brownish creature leaps out and smacked into Alexander’s shoulder.” The creature runs away.
- Alexander and his friends find a brute-cake that is “eighty times tougher than a regular fruitcake.” The monster is “bumpy, brown and covered with shiny bits of fruit and nuts.”
- After the brute-cake falls apart, Nikki comes back to life.