theqwikpickadventuresociety.jpgThe Qwikpick Adventure Society
By Sam Riddleburger
Dial Books for Young Readers
ISBN 9780803731783
Grades 5-7
In Stores


In my youth, I’ve done my fair share of hanging around public places. A friend and I used to be regulars at the local Kmart plaza, eating Nutty Bars and perusing the car care section to debate which chamois was “probably most absorbent”. These are the things that happen growing up in a small town. “The Qwikpick Adventure Society” exposes these seemingly mundane life experiences as the occasionally life changing times they can be. All nicely wrapped up into a story about seeing a mythical “poop fountain”.

Yep, the above info is indeed correct. I can’t say that I’ve ever really read anything like this book. The back cover contains what appears to be a handwritten checklist titled “My list of possible things to do over the Christmas break”. Number four on the list? “See the fountain of poop”. Unexpected. Even though I can’t say I would ever really be interested in such an endeavor, it’s fair to say my interest was piqued.

The story is told through the perspective of Lyle Hertzog. The book itself is a sort of notebook – part typed (on Lyle’s typewriter) and part handwritten. Lyle and his two friends, Marilla Anderson and Dave Raskin, all live in the trailer park located behind the Qwikpick gas station. Since Lyle’s folks work there, Qwikpick becomes a hangout. When the three realize they don’t have plans for Christmas day, they are determined to make the most of it – set out on a true adventure. When Marilla suggests a trip to the Crickenburg Wastewater Treatment Plant, they decide it’s a plan. FYI: They get more than bargained for.

It’s tough to judge the appeal or readability of a book for other people. What I do know is this: I started this up and finished it in one sitting, which is not the way I usually work. As you might expect from comments above, this story wasn’t without some gross out moments. A portion of readers will be genuinely repulsed during the climax of the tale, ensuring that yet another group of kids will be dying to read it. The entertaining mix of first-person story, notes, and the occasional photograph combined to create that oh so elusive element that often sells a book to readers: voice. In fact, this one would probably be good for class use to teach that concept (that is, if the teacher is cool with the whole poop fountain thing). A book that notices how adventure can come from unusual sources, “The Qwikpick Adventure Society” is a solid fiction selection.

Also reviewed by: A Fuse #8 Production, A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.

Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.

Read more about “Qwikpick Adventure Society” in the Roanoke Times.