“Zapped” by Prudence Breitrose

“Zapped” by Prudence Breitrose 663 1024 Reader Views Kids


Prudence Breitrose
Webster Street Press (2023)
ISBN:  979-8987799826
Reviewed by Grady Darrell for Reader Views (09/2023)

There’s no Mickey Gerbil. Gerbils never get to star in children’s books or drive cars and are never depicted as knights rescuing princesses. In short, gerbils feel disrespected. But everything changes for the gerbils when Joe Newman’s father invents the Nanozap – a device that can shrink anything to the perfect size for these slighted rodents. A group of gerbils, with the help of Joe and a gerbil so smart he’s known as Einstein, sneak to the Nanozap and begin shrinking. But when messages from Lord Travis, the gerbil leader, suddenly change tone, it’s up to this unlikely group to save the gerbils’ world!

In “Zapped,” Prudence Breitrose paints a world with the brush of a gerbil and the pigment of a ten-year-old boy. When Joe is speaking, I truly feel like I’m talking to a ten-year-old, like when he says:

Hey, that was safe to say, because physics didn't happen until high school, and I was just coming up on fifth grade. Mom said she didn't think I'd want to work with Dad because wasn't I going to be a writer? But Dad ruffled my hair the way he sometimes does and gave me some ribs from his plate, even though I was way too full to eat them.

 And when the gerbils are talking—well, I can’t say I’ve heard gerbils talk before, but Breitrose makes me feel like that’s changed. A good example of this is:

'There's no way they'll do anything useful for us now,' he said. 'They'll just shrink stuff to show they can do it, then they'll unshrink it. In case you hadn't noticed, humans mostly like things to be the right size for them. Not for gerbils.'

Breitrose works the dialogue perfectly, leaving out the occasional comma to match the way a kid would write, then shifts it when the gerbil is narrating, weaving the thread of a gerbil’s brain into a pattern that makes the gerbils into relatable characters.

“Zapped” is a well-written and entertaining book. I would love for a chapter or two from the rats’ perspective, as well. I would like to know more about why rats hate gerbils and more about why gerbils get no respect in the world of rodents. 

“Zapped” by Prudence Breitrose is a funny, exciting, and well-written book, relatable to all who enjoy adventure and/or animals! Filled with excitement and charged with energy, Breitrose has created a world that is accessible to all. I would recommend this Nanozapped book to an audience aged 7 and above. If you enjoy adventure, you’ll love this book as much as I did!

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