September 20, 2016

Weerdest Day Ever!

First there was the Seven Series.

Then came the Seven Sequels.

Today the long-awaited Seven Prequels launches! 

Get a taste for the Seven Prequels with my review of  
Richard Scrimger's contribution to the series here.

by Richard Scrimger
Orca Book Publishers
216 pp.
Ages 9-12
September 2016
Reviewed from advance reading copy

Weerdest Day Ever! is a story that Bunny (Bernard) is writing for his Grade 10 English class about a camping trip with his Grampa and brother Spencer.  It begins with an “Oops. Sorry.” that is pure Bunny.   But as weird as his tale might be, he makes a point of clarifying that it is essentially true, though knowing Bunny, he does tend to misinterpret much since he often takes things literally and at face value.
This story is true–mostly its true.  You wont think so but it is.  Like the war. Yah there reely was a war. Or the cow.  Or the hollow tree. Or what happened to the 1 arm man. (pg. 3)
Since I know he’s got you hooked with that beginning, his story is off to a great start.  And, if I were his teacher, I could easily disregard his spelling mistakes because the content of his story is so engaging.

Grampa doesn’t tell them much about the trip except that there will be surprises at the park that weekend.  His only rule is that, if they go out on their own, that they must stay close and check in.  When Spencer loses his new and distinctly yellow-cased smart phone, Bunny goes exploring by himself and discovers some guys in blue jackets and white pants and tall hats armed with guns that looked longer and fancier than rifles he knew.  He meets two kids, Beth and her quiet brother Tyler, both dressed in fringed leather clothing and with makeup, sneaking through the woods.  Beth tells them they are with the British and those men in blue are the Americans and there would be in battle tomorrow.  Beth then introduces Bunny to their father, Tecumseh, a general with an impressive sword, at a community of tents, wagons, horses and a log house in a large open area.

Most readers would get that what Bunny is witnessing is a re-enactment from the War of 1812 but Bunny truly believes a war is about take place and feels he must warn his Grampa.  But, Bunny knows how to recognize a bully and, when a blue-coated, one-armed man comes by and taunts Beth’s father and uses discriminatory and rude words like "savages" and "red skins", Bunny calls him out on it, making an enemy of the “reactor” (i.e., re-enactor) whom they learn is an American called Brasher.  Later when Bunny and the silent tracker Tyler go snooping and Bunny sees Brasher with Spencer’s distinctive cell phone, Bunny’s mission becomes two-fold: warn Grampa about the war, and get Spencer’s phone back.  Along the way, though, Bunny and his new friends have another mystery to solve, that of the theft of Tecumseh's sword, solved all the more easily because of Bunny's astute observations.

I can’t possible go into all the layers of Richard Scrimger’s plot but it does encompass a war, a one-armed man, a cow, as Bunny mentions at the onset, but also Laura Secord, a sword, a phone, horseback riding, a re-enactment, budding romances for all three campers, an elderly woman with hearing issues, antagonism with Americans, meaningful ice-cream, a hollow tree, a bully, and a familial rivalry.  It must have seemed like the “weerdest day ever!” for sweet and trusting Bunny who spends most of the weekend worried.  He’s worried about Spencer and his lost phone; about a war they may lose and who might get killed; about Beth and a horse-handler named Clod; about the mean bully named Brasher; and more. But even with all these worries, Bunny’s perspective allows him to see circumstances with wisdom and the humour with which Richard Scrimger’s writing is always imbued.
     “What if we lose?” I said. “What then?”
     Wuld we become American? And what would that mean–being American?
     If I was American Id have a different anthem. O say can you see.  I didnt know it all but I knew that part.  No more standing on gard.  If I was American Id have a president.  My capital city wuld be Washington.  Id have green money.
(pg. 104)
How can you not love Bunny?  He may have spelling challenges and trust others too quickly, but he is wise beyond his years (he’s in Grade 6 when the camping trip takes place), recognizing that the only rule he needs to live by is you should do what you want unless it hurts somebody.  

It’s very satisfying to learn a bit about Bunny’s earlier story, as well as get hints of his grandfather David McLean’s covert and romantic entanglements, in this book of the Seven Prequels.  I suspect readers of the remaining Seven Prequels will feel the same after learning a bit more about Spencer, DJ, Webb, Adam, Rennie and Steve.  I can only reiterate what we have said all along about the Seven series, the Seven Sequels and now the Seven Prequels:  read them in any order, just read them.

Be sure to check out all the blog stops on the Seven Prequels tour to launch the series, starting today:

• Norah McClintock at Lost in a Great Book
• Richard Scrimger here at CanLit for LittleCanadians
• Eric Walters at Literary Treats
• John Wilson at teenreads
• Ted Staunton at Young Adult Books Central
• Shane Peacock at MrsReadsBooks
• Sigmund Brouwer at Lost in a Great Book


Check back tomorrow for my own blog tour stop for the Seven Prequels, my interview with author Richard Scrimger.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Richard. Or does it just mean my review is the only review (so far, of course)?