Rocket And Groot: Stranded On Planet Strip Mall! by Tom Angleberger

While on one of my periodic rage walks through my neighborhood a short while ago — tho, fortunately, these have been filled less with rage and more with a restless desire for movement recently, at least before I busted my knee again yesterday, deeeeep sigh — I stopped by one of the Little Free Libraries on my route and picked up this title for my kids. I figured that the outer space theme and copious illustrations would draw them in (plus I have a soft spot for that rascal Rocket Raccoon.)

Alas, my kids were their usual reading-resistant selves, despite this hardcover being in the same format as the many other Dog Man and Diary Of A Wimpy Kid books they adore. Perhaps I should get them to watch the Guardians Of The Galaxy movies with me: that might pique their interest! But given the current lack thereof, I figured I ought to at least give the book a read so I can make better recommendations to them as to what they might like about it (so, basically, my day job writ much smaller for my beloved little family.)

This illustrated chapter book is creatively formatted, as Rocket and Groot find themselves shipwrecked on a small, uncharted planet after a fearsome fight with space piranhas. With only the talking tape dispenser from their old (“borrowed”) space ship for company, they embark on an exploration of this strange new world, in search of both sustenance and a way back into space.

The closest landmark to them is a strip mall: weird, but not too, too out of the ordinary. Groot wants to find nutrients, but Rocket thinks it might not be a bad idea to stop by a dry cleaner’s first to get some of the space piranha battle stains out of his Guardians vest. The robot running the dry cleaners is eager to help, but also eager to guide Rocket to some of the other amenities, while Groot goes off in search of food elsewhere. Chaos, ofc, ensues.

Told in the form of an audio log, with Rocket’s occasional doodles (and one very lovely page from Groot) as illustrations, this is chaotic fun in book form. I 100% heard the voices of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel as Rocket and Groot, as they made their way through the bizarre adventures chronicled here. There isn’t a ton of sophistication in these pages, but the target audience doesn’t need it, and I enjoyed the mystery and resolution regardless. The bookmarks in the back are also very neat, and thematically hilarious.

Definitely grab this book for your advancing young or middle grade reader, especially one who enjoys the Guardians Of The Galaxy property or tales of space adventures in general. I’m gonna try getting my kids to read this again and will report back should I prove successful!

Rocket And Groot: Stranded On Planet Strip Mall! by Tom Angleberger was published March 8 2016 by Marvel Press and is available from all good booksellers.

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  1. Chaotic Fun is an alignment I can aspire to!

    1. Honestly, same!

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