________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 25. . . .March 5, 2010.


Big Bobby Boom! and the Marble Mayhem.

Gregg Seeley.
Sault Ste. Marie, ON: Moose Enterprise Book and Theatre Play Publishing, 2009.
136 pp., pbk., $11.84.
ISBN 978-1-894650-75-5.

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11.

Review by Myra Junyk.





Nothing seemed out of place except for the one obtuse object that stood out amongst a perfect setting, the very tall, ugly, stone walled clock tower. It was built by the town founder and stood right besi de [sic] the First Bank of Bunsel. Many times demolition plans were set to tear it down but its demise was never carried out, [sic] always a strange weather phenomenon prevented its destruction.

To live in the town of Bunsel there is one thing you just have to know. Everything, and I do mean everything is owned by the town boss, Big Bobby Boolacheck Senior. Mr. Bobby Boolacheck owns the Bunsel bakery, famous for it’s [sic] maple glazed covered Bunsel Buns, the Bunsel meat plant, famous for it’s [sic] thick half pound Bunsel Burgers and foot-long, thick as your wrist bunsel dogs. He also owns the Bunsel shopping centre where everything needed can be purchased in Bunsel groceries. Also he is proprietor of the Bunsel restaurant, which serves the very famous Bunsel deep dish pie and he even owns the Bunsel hotel, where a perfect nights [sic] sleep is guaranteed.

For as long as anybody could remember the town of Bunsel was run by someone named Bobby Boolacheck, all of whom had the same abrasive, obnoxious personality and the same nick name [sic], Big Bobby Boom!

Big Bobby Boom! and the Marble Mayhem tells the story of the merciless bullying of an entire town by Bobby Bollacheck, the mayor of Bunsel, and his son, 11-year old Bobby Bollacheck Junior. The father is not only the mayor, but he is also the owner of all the businesses in town. He employs everyone in Bunsel! The Bollachecks, father and son, treat the townspeople as their personal servants.

     However, things start to change after County Sheriff T.G. Blue arrives with his wife and son. When Big Bobby Senior allows his 11-year old son to recklessly drive his car, the Sheriff gives him a traffic ticket. Big Bobby is very angry and tells the Sheriff, “’Nobody gives me a traffic ticket! I own this town and nobody treats the mayor like a commoner.” (p. 12)

     Big Bobby Junior soon runs into Elliott, the Sheriff’s son, and his cousin, Jimmy, who is staying with the Blue family. Elliott and Jimmy are in Big Bobby Junior’s sixth grade class, and in no time, Junior starts to verbally and physically abuse them. He calls them names, steals their lunches and threatens to beat them up. However, the two cousins fight back against the bullying. It seems that every time Big Bobby Junior threatens to hurt the pair, they hurt him instead. When Junior’s father bans them from the town parade, the duo plan “marble mayhem” as revenge!

     Gregg Seeley’s first novel deals with bullying. Both Big Bobby Senior, the town mayor, and his son, Big Bobby Junior, are heartless bullies who enjoy hurting people. However, Sheriff Blue, his son Elliott, and his nephew Jimmy the Slick will not put up with the continuous abuse. The two boys plan numerous pranks to get revenge on Bobby Junior. They ruin hockey and baseball practices as well as Junior’s birthday party. They are able to get away with their reckless actions until they get caught in the “marble mayhem.”

     The constant repetition of names in this novel is very confusing. There is also a substantial amount of gratuitous violence. At one point, Big Bobby Junior attacks another student by repetitively farting in his face. Jimmy superglues a baseball bat to Big Bobby Junior’s hand. The novel could have been improved by more rigorous editing. There are spacing errors, “besi de” (not beside) (p. 6). There are spelling errors, “famous for it’s (not its) maple covered Bunsel Buns” (p. 6) There are also grammatical errors, such as sentence fragments “Because, virtually everybody in the town who is of working age works for him.” (p. 7) Although the message about bullying could have been a good one, the lack of editing detracts from the effectiveness of this novel.

Not recommended.

A resident of Toronto, ON, Myra Junyk is a literacy advocate and author.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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