Thank you so much to Hear Our Voices Book Tours, as well as the author and publisher for giving me a copy of both the books in ‘The Cookie Chronicles’ series, in exchange for an unbiased, and honest review!! This is my stop for the tour, and you can click the banner below to view the full schedule, and explore other posts!!
Title: Ben Yokoyama and the Cookie of Doom, Ben Yokoyama and the Cookie of Endless Waiting
Author: Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction
Series: The Cookie Chronicles
Publication Date: March 2, 2021
Final Rating: 4 stars
Synopsis (via Goodreads); for Book #1:
Meet Ben, a literal-minded kid with a big heart and an even bigger sweet-tooth, who cracks open a fortune cookie and discovers that TODAY might be his last day on Earth! Perfect for fans of DIARY OF A WIMPY KID and THE TERRIBLE TWO.
Live each day as if it were your last.
When Ben reads his fortune-cookie fortune, he’s alarmed and inspired. Immediately, he begins drafting a bucket list of unfinished tasks and lifelong dreams (finish his 1000-piece model of the Taj Mahal, eat an entire cake, etc….). As Ben marches himself in and out of trouble, takes useful risks, and helps both his parents to see the bigger picture, readers discover how something that seems scary can instead be empowering–leading to friendships that might never have been made, neighbors that might never have been known, and apple pies that might otherwise never have been baked.
Synopsis (via Goodreads); for Book #2:
Literal-minded Ben cracks open a fortune cookie and it tells him that he can have anything he wants, if only he’s willing to wait… A madcap adventure about the perils of patience, for fans of DIARY OF A WIMPY KID and THE TERRIBLE TWO.
Good things come to those who wait.
Ben does his best to heed his fortune cookie’s advice, and as a result he is paired with Walter–the kid who’s always picked last–for a school scavenger hunt. Working with Walter must be a good thing if the cookie said so, but so far all he does is talk too loud and recite obscure facts about feet. Meanwhile, Ben has an argument with his best friend Janet, and waiting for her to apologize first isn’t going so well…. But eventually, Ben’s patience starts paying off: if he and Walter are able to pull out a win in the scavenger hunt, they’ll earn a half-day of recess for the whole school! Waiting may not always be a good thing, but taking the time to listen and consider all options isn’t half bad.
Mini Review on The Cookie Chronicles by Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr
Full of humor, delightful drawings, delectable cuisines, and hilarious jokes, The Cookie Chronicles had two fun, cheerful stories that left me wanting more. Although it was really light-hearted, and full of fluff, I loved how the authors added the coming-of-age aspect into the story. Seeing Ben grow, not only as a person, but his opinions, and his views on society as well, was so interesting.
Both the books in The Cookie Chronicles were a delight to read, and I will definitely come back for a re-read! It’s the perfect, coziest middle grade book I’ve read in a while. Something I loved seeing was the way Ben adapted to his surroundings, and understanding the greater meanings of things. Having read both the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and The Terrible Two as a child, I could definitely see the similarities between the characters and storylines. However, The Cookie Chronicles never felt “too similar” to any of these books at any point of time, and was a distinctly unique story.
I haven’t read a lot of middle grade books recently, and these two reminded me why I always went to middle grade for comfort. Though sometimes they tackle heavy topics, all middle grade never fails to make you happier, and this was no exception. I found myself laughing at every turn of the page, the jokes, and hilarious writing and illustrations making my day brighter. As I mentioned earlier, I practically binged both the books in one sitting!
Last but not least, something I noticed and appreciated was the diversity in this book. If you look at some of the most wildly popular middle grade series (lets just take the Diary of a Wimpy Kid for example), they’re all so whitewashed, and there is literally no diversity. Comparing YA to MG, I think a lot more readers of color feel represented in YA, which is why it was SO good to see some natural, and not at all forced diversity in a middle grade book.
Cover Recreation for Ben Yokoyama and the Cookie of Doom
About the Author(s)
MATTHEW SWANSON and ROBBI BEHR are the husband/wife, author/illustrator team behind The Real McCoys, Babies Ruin Everything and Everywhere, Wonder. Until recently, they also ran two small presses: Bobbledy Books and Idiots’ Books. These days, they spend most of their time making books and raising four kids (10, 8, 6, and almost 2) in the hayloft of an old barn in Chestertown, Maryland. They spend the rest of their time speaking, teaching, and leading workshops on collaboration and creative entrepreneurship—and the rest of the rest of their time running a commercial salmon fishing operation on the Alaskan tundra.