Author: David Elliott
Lexile Score: 830 (how are made-up words scored?)
Genre: Fantasy, Surrealism, Allegory,
Maturity level: 3rd grade
Pages: 307 Chapters: 50 Average Chapter Length: 6 pages
Theme: Redemption, Happiness, Family
First Line: "He'll do," the woman said, pointing to Jeremy.
Main Character: Jeremy Cabbage - also, to a lesser extent, the Baron's daughter's nanny
Review in 25 words or less: A real curiosity, this. Set in a fully developed alternate world of unusual occurrences and strange names, I cheer for Jeremy as I struggled through it.
Jeremy Cabbage lives in an alternate world, run by a dictatorial Baron. He is
adopted bought by three succeeding families, the third being a group of clowns Cloons that finally have the capacity to love him and care for him. The Baron tried to press his authority by sending cars through town blaring moral soundbites and ridding the city of groups he (or his wife) deem unfit - especially the Cloons.
Although orphan-beats-the-system stories are a bit cliche, This one started out strong. You know all along that Jeremy only gets three chances for adoption, so you are really excited when, on his third try, he is brought home by two cloons. The story of the Baron's daughter's nanny is woven throughout, helping to clearly define the line between the outcasts vs. the ruling class. The main concept of the story is great, and works well. There are many ideas here, making this book very complex, and discussion-rich. While I would not put this at the top of my list, I do think it would make a good book club choice for students to help each other decipher.
*Note: Unfortunately Read Roger brought my attention to this chart when I was about a third of the way through Jeremy Cabbage: (click to link to the original source)
I had trouble shaking this thought as I plowed through the many invented spellings and names throughout this book.
*Nominated for a 2008 Cybils Award in Middle Grade Fiction!