restricted access Project Jackalope (review)
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Reviewed by
Ecton, Emily. Project Jackalope. Chronicle, 2012. 256p. ISBN 978-1-4521-0155-2 $15.99 R Gr. 4-6.

When Professor Twitchett's latest experiment shows up in Jeremy's bedroom, any semblance of normalcy in the junior high student's life is pretty much destroyed, shredded by the razor-sharp antlers attached to the fluffy, twitchy-nosed bunny that has now taken up residence in Jeremy's hamper. The jackalope, a mythical creature apparently made not so mythical by the good doctor's recent efforts to create an animal hybrid, is now being pursued by shadowy government operatives who plan to exploit the animal's crazed killer instincts for their own purposes. Twitchett, [End Page 508] Jeremy's eccentric neighbor, is nowhere to be found, so Jeremy enlists the help of Agatha, his smarty-pants classmate, and soon the two are on the lam with Jack in tow, running from the men in black and raiding hotel minibars to keep their boozehound of a new friend (whiskey is the jackalope's sustenance of choice) sated. A rollicking exercise in absurdity, this delightfully funny caper will find an audience among fans of Adam Rex and M. T Anderson. Jeremy's wry, often bemused narration strikes a nice balance with the more physical elements of humor in the book (including a vomiting giraffe), and the madcap nature of his predicament keeps the pace snappy and the tone light. Agatha provides a feisty, stubbornly determined foil to Jeremy's just-go-with-it attitude, and although poor Jack spends most of his time crammed into a Dora the Explorer suitcase, his various appearances are almost always guffaw-worthy and his boozy rendition of "Happy Trails" is not to be missed. The jackalope may be known as a fearsome creature, but here the only thing that's killer is its comedic timing.