So occasionally, I’ll share a book that I didn’t necessarily enjoy reading but that my son loved. For me, it’s all about sparking the joy of reading, not necessarily what whether the content grabs me as an adult. Today’s recommendation falls into this category, as my son was immediately smitten but I could take it or leave it.
The Wedgie and Gizmo series by Suzanne Selfors currently boasts 3 books centered around the lives of Gizmo, a guinea pig (or cavy) obsessed with world domination and family dog Wedgie, a sweet natured Corgi who believes a cape morphs him into a superhero. They are thrown together when their families are united in marriage. I like that Selfors doesn’t make it a big deal that the family is blended. I think this will help readers with a similar family dynamic to see themselves in the characters.
The human characters are Elliot, the owner of Gizmo (or Gizmo’s servant, if you ask him), Elliot’s dad (referred to as Dad), Jackson and Jasmine, the young owners of Wedgie and their mother (referred to as Mom) and Abuela (it’s assumed she is Jackson and Jasmine’s grandmother). The first book opens with Elliott, Dad and Gizmo having moved into the home belonging to the other half of the family. There is some mild friction involved in the merging of two families but no one feels the rub more than Gizmo.
First off, we learn that his EcoHabitat has been damaged in transit and while they await a replacement, he is forced to live in Barbie play house that Jasmine has long since discarded. He is, of course, incensed by the fact that he has to live in the pink monstrosity but let me just say, as the former owner of a Barbie Dream House Gizmo has it pretty good! That was one huge mansion, certainly there’s at least once spot perfect for creating a new evil lair. I’m just saying, embrace the gift!
Alas, he is distracted by the idea that Wedgie is intent on ruining his plans to rule the world and create a loyal army of fellow cavies. However in actuality, he’s just a fun, goofy boy who loves his family, treats and car rides. It’s true that a series of coincidences lead Gizmo to believe Wedgie possesses the abilities of sabotage and subterfuge but nope, it’s all an illusion. He’s fighting a battle against himself, which we all know never pays off!
There’s also a side plot that introduces the fact that Abuela is from Peru, which Gizmo knows to be the original homeland of the cavy. But what he doesn’t know is that cavies are so popular in Peru because they’re food for humans! Once he learns this horrifying truth from a TV show Abuela is watching, he becomes convinced that she is out to get him, too. And maybe she is… she certainly seems to be noticing that he acts differently from other guinea pigs. But does anyone actually hear her observations.
This series is best suited for independent readers ages 8-12. The short chapters and fun illustrations make it easy for readers to stay engaged. The dialogue between characters is set apart from paragraphs and in bold print, making it easier to follow. Chapters alternate between Gizmo and Wedgie’s perspectives and along the way, you get to know each of them and the members of the family more. We’ve only read the first two books but after both, my son wanted to know immediately if there was another in the series. We’re currently waiting for a hold from our library. All in all, this series is a real kid pleaser.