Published by Greenwillow Books
Summary: Archer B. Helmsley has spent his whole life in Helmsley House, surrounded by stuffed animals and other artifacts collected by his grandparents, the famous explorers Ralph and Rachel Helmsley. Ever since Ralph and Rachel went missing on an iceberg in Antarctica, Archer’s mother has kept him at home in an attempt to keep him safe from any exploring instincts he may have inherited. But as Archer gets older, he becomes restless, and eventually decides it’s up to him to head for the South Pole and rescue his grandparents. He enlists the help of two neighbors, the cautious Oliver Glub, who is good at worrying over details, and the mysterious Parisian, Adelaide L. Belmont, whose wooden leg is a testimony to an adventurous past. The whole rescue plan comes to an uproarious climax on a museum field trip complete with an evil teacher, a gazelle mask, a glass eye, and a pack of hungry tigers. Grades 3-7.
Pros: Fans of Roald Dahl and Lemony Snicket will appreciate the quirky characters and settings of this debut novel. The author is also an artist who created over 20 gorgeous color illustrations, as well as many smaller black-and-white ones throughout the book.
Cons: The whole story seemed to build toward a grand final adventure that never actually happens.