Reviews for Trouble Magnet
Booklist Reviews 2009 January #1
Hawaii-centric Salisbury targets a younger reading set with this first book in the Calvin Coconut series. Calvin is a boisterous boy at home on the beaches of Kailua who somehow manages to find mischief at every opportunity, no matter how hard he tries to keep to the straight and narrow. The story follows him as summer winds down and he gets ready to start fourth grade, navigating through the troublesome wake of a menacing bully, a tough but admired new teacher, and, worst of all, having to surrender his room to a teenage girl from Texas who has come to live with the family. Calvin s relationships with his younger sister and harried mother--his father abandoned the family to pursue a singing career--add promising depth to the deceptively simple story. Calvin isn t all naughtiness, but he does tend to forget things, shirk responsibility, and become overly excitable, making him pretty much that Everyboy many will easily connect with. Rogers lighthearted illustrations help flesh out the characters and establish moods without dominating the proceedings.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Fall
In this entertaining series opener, fourth grader Calvin has trouble staying out of trouble at home and in school. Things get even tougher when teenage Stella comes to live with his family. Through detail, incident, and dialogue, Salisbury provides a real sense of the story's Hawaiian locale. Rogers's frequent illustrations flesh out the well-developed characters and will help readers picture the setting. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2009 February #2
Believable, funny characters populate this chronicle of fourth grader Calvin's life on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. In short chapters narrated in the first person, Calvin and his friends reluctantly bid summer adieu and begin the new school year. Coinciding with this is his mom's announcement of the imminent arrival of her friend's teenage daughter from Texas. Her stay forces poor Calvin to move into the storage room, crawling with a host of creepy insects, including a centipede he captures in a jar. As the subtitle suggests, only mischief can ensue. The story line here is a familiar one of an (at times, overly) energetic but well-meaning boy stumbling into mishap. Yet the cultural details of Oahu emerge naturally, the inevitable neighborhood bully is richly developed and the familial relationships among Calvin and his sister, their mom and her boyfriend are touching, realistically tempered with moments of frustration. Rogers's lively ink-and-wash drawings augment the story and evoke a playful feel. An auspicious start to a series that is likely to have broad appeal. (Fiction. 7-10) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 March #3
Salisbury (Night of the Howling Dogs) brings the Hawaiian locale and boy-centric vibe of his novels to a younger audience in this kicky start to a middle-grade series. For four years, Cal has been "the man of the house," standing in for his absentee dad, the famous crooner Little Johnny Coconut (who saddled the family with its stage-ready surname). But things get topsy-turvy when a surly teenage family friend arrives to be a live-in babysitter for Cal and his little sister, and Cal makes some missteps in the first days of school in Mr. Purdy's Fourth-Grade Boot Camp, which include a lost centipede and a class food fight. Salisbury uses humor and lots of action to guide Cal as he deals with a neighborhood bully, his new teacher and the upheaval in his home life. Fun details of Hawaiian life, including descriptions of snack foods, beach pursuits and the characters' melting pot of heritages bring the setting to life. The tone is realistic, warm and light as an island breeze--perfect for luring newly confident chapter-book readers. Ages 7-10. (Mar.) [Page 61]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2009 May
Gr 2-4--In the first installment of a planned series, readers meet nine-year-old Calvin, whose singing-star father changed their last name from Novio to Coconut before leaving the family four years earlier. In Mr. Purdy's fourth-grade class in Kailua, HI, Calvin's year is off to a bad start when he accidentally lets loose his new pet centipede, forgets to pick up his little sister after school, and incurs the ire of middle-school bullies Tito and Frank. At home, he's got to give up his room to Stella, the blond, beautiful but surly teenaged daughter of his mother's friend who's come from Texas to stay for a while. He gets off on the wrong foot with her, too, when he forgets to fix the lock on the bedroom door, necessitating a window escape. Humor, lots of local color, and richly varied cultural details abound in this accessible, fun read, and a map of the town and sketches throughout help bring readers into Calvin's world. (It does seem odd, though, that Calvin's mother would go shopping while her new guest is locked in the bedroom.) While light on character development and more episodic than plot-driven, this title will be enjoyed by readers venturing into chapter books, and it lays the groundwork nicely for the titles to come.--Marie Orlando, formerly at Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY [Page 88]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.