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Chill: Discover the Cool (and Creative) Side of Your Fridge: Allan Peterkin

Nonfiction.monday Book: Chill: Discover the Cool (and Creative) Side of Your Fridge
Author: Allan Peterkin
Illustrator: Mike Shiell
Pages: 80
Age Range: 9-12 

ChillI have to admit that when Raab Associates sent me a copy of Chill: Discover the Cool (and Creative) Side of Your Fridge, I kind of scratched my head. Really? A book about refrigerators? But it was an engaging, small-format hardcover (a little larger than a mass-market paperback), with bright colors, glossy pages, and a mix of text and illustrations. So I opened it up, to see what it was all about. And I'm surprised to report that this book had me pealing with laughter.

It's a tongue-in-cheek look at the history of refrigeration, with primary emphasis on the importance of refrigerator art as a form of artistic expression. It's hard to even know if this is a book that should be considered nonfiction. It's filled with "factoids", but even those are related in a light-hearted manner. For example: "Neodymium magnets can hold up to one hundred times their weight. (They can also stop cardiac pacemakers, so keep Granny away from the fridge!)". There are also sections like "Where Did Fridge Art Come From?" by Lady Sibyl Snivel, the British Institute of Refrigerative Expression." and "The Brainwashing Fridge" (how to manipulate your refrigerator art to convince your parents to buy you a puppy).

Here are a few things that made me laugh:

  • In a section with quotes about fridge art: "Sticking rubber snakes on the fridge is a perfect way to annoy my big sister - Leonard, devious sibling"
  • and, "My fridge reminds me, every morning, of my current infatuations with people, places and things" -- Paris Stilton, cheesy starlet".
  • and "Every time I get expelled, putting up the fridge magnets in my new dorm room makes it feel like home -- Ned, boarding school reject"

There are quizzes, like identify the celebrity fridge (Cleopatra's has a note to buy eye liner" and interpretations from Dr. Henry  Froid (pronounced Freud) about what your refrigerator art might be telling you ("Narcissists display far too many pictures of their self-absorbed selves and they endlessly detail their achievements." There are even lists of taboo refrigerator behavior, and things NOT to stick on your fridge.

As you can see, it's all rather irreverent, but definitely entertaining. I must admit that I lost interest during a longer section about different styles of fridge design (birthday, letter tiles, etc.). But I can imagine that kids might be inspired to undertake actual craft projects from some of these ideas. The end of the book even includes some recommendations for becoming an entrepreneurial magnet maker. In short, this could make an entertaining gift book for reluctant middle-grade readers, looking for humor and/or ideas for quirky, creative projects. I'm still a bit bemused that I enjoyed a book about refrigerators, but I did.

Publisher: Kids Can Press
Publication Date: March 1, 2009
Source of Book: Review copy from Raab Associates

Today's Nonfiction Monday wrap-up is at Lori Calabrese Writes!

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.