The Fantastic Family Whipple by Matthew Ward
Posted by Caitie F on August 10, 2013
For every child who’s ever dreamed of being in the Guinness Book of World Records comes the story of eleven-year-old Arthur Whipple and his fantastic family of world record breakers . . .
– Most Crème Brulée Eaten in One Minute
– Highest Number of Matching Outfits Worn by a Stuffed Toy and Its Owner
– Youngest Person to Summit the Third-Highest Mountain in the World
These are just three of the 49,521 records won by Arthur’s twelve brothers and sisters. Unfortunately, unlike his siblings, Arthur hasn’t broken a single, solitary world record! But when the Whipples suffer a spate of catastrophes and a curious amount of attention from a pair of irregularly sized and unusually menacing clowns, Arthur might be the only one who can save his family from losing their collective crown . . . or worse.
I know when I was a kid, I was fascinated with world records. I never wanted to have one, but it was so cool that all of these records existed. All of my friends had at least one world record book and reading it was a lot of fun!
In this debut novel, Matthew Ward has taken this excitement of world records and brought it to a whole new level! In this world, there are hundreds of thousands of records and the people who break them are actual celebrities. At the end of the book, there is a listing of just some of the records held. I actually read through some of those first and the creativity found in those descriptions is what made me know I had to read this book!
Not only is it fun and creative, but the mystery and sleuthing in the story is great. Arthur makes a great detective and it never feels like clues come out of nowhere or that anything is hidden from the reader to make for a dramatic ending. It is also great that he cannot do it alone, in fact, he teams up with the odd-ball member of the Whipple’s rival family. Arthur is great, but Ruby is actually my favorite character because she doesn’t care that she is different, in fact, she embraces it. It did not seem that she was under the same pressure as Arthur though, so that was a big factor in her personality.
My only issue is that it is the first book in a series and it isn’t a complete story, it really is just the first part. That said, it is still a great middle grade novel that will spark the imagination and fascination of all readers.