Bogus reviews

Children’s Reviews

“What would you do with a $1,000? Aldo would buy… 893 taquitos, 250 packs of Pokémon cards, 555 slushies, or maybe just a big flat screen TV for his bedroom. Too bad he lost the diamond ring, which would bring him a $1,000 reward! When Aldo and his best friend Jack find a ring in the gutter, Aldo is sure it’s bogus and wants to leave it. But Jack, the rock hound, insists on taking it home and testing it. The boys can’t be certain if the ring is real or not, so Aldo decides to take the ring to an expert. Unfortunately, he gets distracted and somehow the ring gets lost. No problem, Aldo is sure it’s a fake anyway. But then the boys see a newspaper ad with a $1,000 reward for the ring and the hunt is on to find it before someone else does! Bogus, by Karla Oceanak and Kendra Spanjer is the second comic novel about Aldo and Jack. It’s creative, quick, unique, and full of great illustrations. Aldo and Jack are always getting into crazy situations, and it’s a blast to read about them. A great glossary full of cool B words is included in the back of the book. If you like comic novels, read this book!” – Maya McQueen, YA Book Central

Bogus receives 5-star review from YA book reviewer Drew: “The author did a great job describing the setting and characters,” says Drew as he describes the book. He gives it five stars and recommends it to readers who like mysteries and autobiographies. “These people should read it because it has a mystery in it, it is about a kid’s life, and it has comics and jokes.”

Ethan Vanz reviews Bogus on his blog: read the whole review here.

Adult Reviews

Bogus, an Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel is the second graphic novel for kids age 7-13 featuring the irrepressible Aldo Zelnick, kid detective and linguist extraordinaire. Bogus is the B- letter book, incorporating as many vocabulary words beginning with “B” as possible. In Bogus, Aldo learns lots about philanthropy, another famous comic book artist (Charles Schulz), and the importance of remembering we are all citizens of a global village. Even finding a valuable lost ring and receiving a, $1000 reward are not as important as banding together and working and caring about other people who need help. Aldo Zelnick is a great hero for kids because he is exactly that, another believable kid. Pretty wonderful when you stop to examine him after all. As before, effortless learning takes place with adeptly incorporated vocabulary, aka the “B” gallery, which includes lots of techno-speak (“B4N”) and popular lingo or slang words (“buzzkill”) as well as foreign words (“bon voyage” and “bok choy”) and just plain fun words (like “bodacious”). The comic illustrations keep the pages turning as does the fast moving story. Kids will love to collect all the letters of the alphabet as discovered by Aldo Zelnick. Next in the series, Cahoots, involving a technology free vacation in rural Minnesota coming in late 2010. This reviewer, who incidentally is from rural Minnesota, can’t wait.” – Midwest Book Review

“Best of all, these books pass the real litmus test: my students love them, too.” – Beth Knees, Aldo Zelnick: A Great New Comic Novel Series

“I teach 4th- and 5th-grade reading and think the new Aldo Zelnick comic novel series is funny and smart, as do many of my students. I’ve also heard positive reviews from other teachers whose students are enjoying this book. From my experience, I know that students from second through fifth grade and reluctant to voracious readers are all enjoying Bogus. In Bogus, Aldo Zelnick and his best friend Jack find a diamond ring. Aldo thinks it’s bogus, and Jack – rock hound extraordinaire – thinks it’s real. Aldo loses the ring, finds it, then loses it again before discovering there is a $1,000 reward for the ring, which may not be bogus after all. Meanwhile, Aldo’s friend Abby is collecting money for children in Bhutan, but Aldo would rather buy Slushies with his allowance. There is so much to recommend Bogus, from Aldo’s quirky charm to the adventure-filled plot to the appealing illustrations. The vocabulary and moral are just icing on the cake – but buttercream, without artificial flavors to make them unappetizing. Aldo is a realistic ten-year-old boy whose charm often lies in his lack of perfection. Most of us can relate to a character who would rather eat home-baked goodies and buy himself treats than exercise and donate his money to charity. It is hard to be good. Aldo always ends up having many fun adventures as the primary problem is solved, whether he is relaxing in his tree fort with friends or going to see the Buddha statue at the Great Stupa (not the Great Stupid, as he first thinks). And, yes, Aldo does look for the ring in dog poop. (And, yes, it is funny, made even more so by the illustrations, including a map.) Speaking of illustrations, they are every bit as appealing and essential as the text. They do more than complement the text; they add another layer of meaning. The characters’ expressions, especially, are priceless. In addition, the illustrations provide humor through the literal interpretation of idioms (keep your eyes peeled) or expressions (last one there is a dung beetle) and “hidden” pictures of the feature letter. Last, the vocabulary in the Aldo books is truly fun because the words, which are in a glossary, are defined by Aldo. Thus, “ballistic” means “crazy upset,” “bludgeon” is “smash with a club. Ouch,” and “breakdancing” is “a kind of dancing that is way too athletic and tiring” (this is, after all, Aldo writing the definitions). Do yourself or a child you love a favor and buy a copy of Bogus – especially if that child ever read and enjoyed Captain Underpants, Ricky Ricotta, Wimpy Kid, Big Nate, or any other comic novel series. Aldo is a more positive character than these, yet the stories, characters, and illustrations will engage children just as much if not more. ” – 5 star review

“These are fun, simple, and easy to read graphic novels.  They are a great choice for reluctant readers who prefer a comic-book style read with plenty of pictures and not too many words.  They also manage to include some hopefully new vocabulary that will help kids learn a bit too.  Even the definitions of the words at the back are humorous enough that kids will probably want to read them.” – Melissa Baldwin, One Librarian’s Book Reviews blog

“Just wanted you to know that Vivi has so enjoyed reading your books, especially Bogus.  It’s been her nighttime choice ever since it was delivered a few days ago.  We finished it and just keep reading it over and over again.  I think being a character in a book has really motivated her to read more often and at a higher level.  Of course, she tells all her friends that she’s in the books, and reads her parts to whomever will listen.  I often catch her just sitting in a corner re-reading the parts she likes (i.e. the crazy scene where the ring gets lost in the cake batter) to herself.  She also really loves the maps and often points out the differences between the two. So thank you so much for including her in the books.  It’s been so fun for all of us.” – Virginia MacKinnon

“I gave Bogus to my friend’s daughter, who is going into fourth grade.  She took it from me, got a HUGE smile on her face, said, “Is this the second one?!  Thank you!!” and then walked over to her picnic table, sat down and began to read.  She never glanced at us again.  Her mom told me that she read from that moment on until she was 3/4 of the way done, then finished the book that night.  She loved it!  How gratifying to provide that kind of pleasure in a child’s life.  I thought you’d enjoy this anecdote. I’m taking Bogus to the Durango Public Library sometime in the next few days.  I looked online, and they did shelve Artsy Fartsy.  So I’m sure they’ll do the same with this one. (Maybe for “D” you’ll have to bring your son down to Durango and Fort Lewis and check things out. The summer is the best time here.)” – Chris, Maria’s Bookshop in Durango, CO

“Bogus is the second in Karla Oceanak’s series for young readers and it’s wonderful. She and illustrator Kendra Spanjer have outdone themselves. Those of any age will read this and smile or even laugh out loud.” Nancy Hansford, local authors writer for The Fort Collins Coloradoan

“Another home run from Bailiwick Press – or should I say a “ringer.” Bogus is a great adventure with a message of good karma and helping those less fortunate. Can’t wait to share copies with my little Aldo followers.” – Jackie

“As was the case in the first book, Bogus is filled with so much humor as well as some terrific illustrations. The reader once again has the opportunity to see what a great (and funny) character Aldo is. There is also a bit of a mystery to solve as well as some important lessons. I especially liked that Bogus featured many “B” words. In fact, there was even a “B Gallery” in the back of the book which gave definitions for all of the less familiar “B” words that appeared in the book. I am excited to say that there in another Aldo book in the works called Cahoots. If it’s anything like the first two books, then it’s guaranteed to be not only funny but also very educational. What a terrific mix for kids and their parents!” – Julie, on her Kid Konnection feature of the Booking Mama blog

Florida teacher Sandra Stiles calls Bogus “the perfect answer” on Musings of a Book Addict: “As a teacher, I know that one thing my students hate is vocabulary. This book is the perfect answer. It shows them that vocabulary doesn’t have to be boring. It can actually be fun. Aldo is given a second sketch book from his Grandma Goosy. He begins to fill it with his drawings, adventures and most importantly to me his fabulous “B” vocabulary words. In this story Aldo and his best friend Jack find a diamond ring in the gutter while playing kick the rock. Aldo throws it back because he thinks it is fake. Jack retrieves it. Then Aldo loses it and learns it is real. Now he is on a mission to find the ring. I didn’t read the first book in the series Artsy Fartsy. I will however purchase the first one and the next one Cahoots. I know the perfect students to recommend this book to. This is a book that kids who like “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” will enjoy.”

“Overall, the latest installment of the Aldo Zelnick series is just as good, if not better than the first. A perfect blend of entertainment and education. Karla Oceanak and Kendra Spanjer have shown again that they know exactly how to reach kids in that often, awkward time of life between being a ‘kid’ and a teenager. Aldo is hilarious, but absolutely real, a kid you could almost imagine walking through your front door at any minute. His struggle to be active is something that almost every kid who reads this will be able to relate to.  Aldo is not a character you quickly forget and you’ll definitely be left wanting more when you’re done with this latest installment.” – Danielle Smith, There’s a Book review blog

“In Bogus, Aldo (somewhat reluctantly and very realistically) learns to put the needs of others before his desire for a giant flat screen TV. In book three, Cahoots, (out later this year) it sounds like Aldo is up for some more character-building when he has to spend time on his cousins’ farm with no technology and lots of chores! My fourth graders last year LOVED Artsy-Fartsy and were disappointed that Bogus would come out after they’d left my class. This new group is going to have two books in the series to devour and a third to look forward to by the end of the year!” – Mary Lee Hahn, A Year of Reading blog

“Aldo Zelnick is back in book “B”, the furthering adventures of Aldo and his friends as their summer vacation continues.  The kids find a ring in the gutter and the tale begins as the ring is moved around the neighborhood and played with while Jack (the rockhound) believes it is real but Aldo insists it is Bogus.  The group lose the ring again just before discovering that it was indeed real and there is a $1,000 reward.  Now the hunt is on, as well as the plan for what to do with the money.  Like the first installment, this title is full of “B” words with a kid made glossary in the back.” – Melanie Nicholson, South Sound Book Review Council



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