- Craig Graziano
Just what makes those Lucky Charms so "magically delicious™?" Why, the imprisonment of leprechauns, unicorns, uni…cats and other fantastic creatures. At least, that’s according to Cold Cereal, a fantasy novel by Adam Rex.
Goodborough, New Jersey, is the home of Goodco, a sugary cereal company that dominates millions of breakfast tables with an iron spoon—er…fist. The town is also the new home of Scottish Play Doe and his family. His mother has just accepted a job there. Scott’s absent dad is a famous actor whose latest claim to fame is punching the Queen of England in the face.
Making friends at a new school is pretty hard when you have a name as strange as Scott’s. Thankfully, he finds some pretty weird friends. Erno and Emily Utz are genius twins who look nothing alike. Their foster father, Mr. Wilson, also works for Goodco and is constantly challenging them with games of coded logic. Like when he suddenly stops using the letter E.
"Do you want an additional flapjack? Or bacon?"
"If not, I’m going to want to wash your dish. Okay? Okay."
"Hurry up, now, you don’t want a tardy at school."
Mr. Wilson seems to be using these games to warn the twins about something, but what? The book contains much intrigue, which increases greatly when Scott sees a rabbit-headed man on the way to school. Scott initially blames his routine migraine headaches for the bizarre vision. It is when he encounters a small, feisty Irishman who transforms a police horse into a unicorn that Scott realizes he's not imagining anything.
The little man, who insists that he is not a leprechaun but a clurichaun, disguises himself in a red tracksuit. He claims that he's on the run. The rabbit-headed man is, too. You see, they were forced to be the mascots of Goodco's cereals. How else is the company going to offer, as they put it, "a little magic in every box?" Our two supernatural friends, Mick and Harvey, are sick of it.
From there...it gets weird. How weird? Imagine an adventure story involving a secret society, Arthurian legends, an ATV chase scene, a Bigfoot butler, astrophysics, a fire-spitting bird, and a Huckleberry Finn Broadway musical titled Oh Huck! Overwhelming? Slightly.
Still, Cold Cereal backs up its complex and manic pace with a steady onslaught of hilarity. It had me laughing out loud, time and time again, in the specific way that Adam Rex can. This book is one of those rare cases where I wish I had read it as a sixth grader because I know how important it would have been to me.