Passage of the Week

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This week’s passage comes from author/illustrator double-threat Adam Rex. Specifically from Cold Cereal, the first book in Rex’s sharp and super funny Cold Cereal Saga.

The passage is, in fact, two passages – two instances in which Rex introduces one of the story’s minor characters, but does so with such an expert hand that they linger in our minds in a major way.

By briefly, but carefully, considering each of his minor characters, Rex adds more color and life to an already lively and colorful book. And because they had such a memorable entrance and made such a vivid first impression, these characters will be much easier for Rex to bring back in future pages, should he find himself needing to.

For the reader, such passages are simply a delight to read. But reading inventive, deft descriptions also serves to hone our own powers of observation, so that once the book is shut, we’ll look out at the world a little more sharply – and, most likely, find there a little more color and life than we would have otherwise.

From Cold Cereal, by Adam Rex (p. 37 + 65)

Project: Potential was in the afternoon, in a mint-green room that smelled like mentholyptus. It was taught by Ms. Wyvern, a musty, clown-faced woman who spoke with an unplaceable accent that was thick with gurgling r’s and sneezy vowels. Her black bowl-cut hair was interrupted in front by a white skunk stripe, which she claimed appeared right after the Soviets launched Sputnik in 1957. And she seemed to have no idea how much she spat.

. . .

He was an ample, bowling pin-shaped man with a gray beard trimmed close. He wore a threadbare blue bathrobe over his boxers and wifebeater. The robe was pilly in places and no more than a meager crosshatch of thin gauze in others. It appeared to be worn not so much out of modesty as out of a sense of loyalty to the garment itself.

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