Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Marvel Rocket and Groot: Stranded on Planet Shopping Mall by Tom Angleberger

Book review: I loved this book because it was fast-paced, had plenty of humour – including lots of surreal stuff such as toilets that try to eat you and a talking tape dispenser – and the layout was great too.

Prior to getting the book, I had not seen the film from which Rocket and Groot come from, but I still got into this book right from the off. Originally I got the book because of the Marvel logo on the front cover. That meant I expected it to be more of a comic book format than it is in but the format here works equally as well.

The book is the transcript of a recording (or an audio-log) of Rocket and Groot’s adventures after they find themselves stranded with "no ship, no guns, no money, no food and no water" on a planet that is totally covered by one big shopping mall where the shops are manned by robots (maybe a vision of Earth’s future?). The recording is done by a tape dispenser (with a recording facility) hence the tape dispenser is often referred to through the book as the “totally awesome tape dispenser”.

Pretty much the whole book is dialogue, just with descriptions of sounds in between, e.g. “sound of moment of silence”, “sound of 5.5 feet of tape dispensing”, “sound of large tree man wrapping a small woodland creature’s head with 5.5 feet of tape”. The tape dispenser also has a touchscreen so that Rocket can doodle their adventures too, these doodles being dotted throughout, as well as one doodle by Groot too.

The dialogue format works because Rocket uses the tape dispenser’s recorder to deliver captain’s logs which allows the story to be told, in parts, as a monologue. This is a similar approach that was taken in ‘Allo ‘Allo episodes where René Artois would start the episode by addressing the camera as to the plot so far.

Also, in this book, every character’s dialogue is in a different format so it is obvious who is talking at each moment. For example Groot’s text looks wooden (and he only says “I am Groot” anyway), the sound effects are in text which appears over a soundwave graphic, the tape dispenser’s speech is on tape and always starts with (Bing) and so on.

This is aimed at 8-12 year-olds. For that age group, the book works well and should appeal even to reluctant readers with its readable format, pictures and humour. But 36-year-olds can, and do, enjoy it too. Now I will share it with my 10-year-old daughter.

Available on AMAZON HERE for just £4.

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