y -- *The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp* by Richard Yancey - Curled Up With A Good Kid's Book
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*The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp* by Richard Yancey - young adult book review





 
The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp
by Richard Yancey
Young adult 352 pages Bloomsbury USA December 2006 Paperback    

Alfred Kropp is not your average hero. Hes big, and he doesnt make top marks in school. At first, his main desire is to be left alone to watch TV or read a book.

Having been in foster homes since his mother died of cancer, Alfred is suddenly adopted by Uncle Farrell. Uncle Farrell pushes a reluctant Alfred to be more, to work at something. A night security guard for the Samson Towers, Uncle Farrell does what he can to provide a decent home and life for Alfred.

Then, one day, Uncle Farrell is approached by an offer he cant refuse. Its a promised one million dollars, with half the payment up front, for stealing a rare sword. Mr. Meyers only wants what belongs to him, right? Even so, Alfred resists, but he is forced to choose between being sent back to foster care or being a part of the scheme.

Its one turn after another, and Alfred Kropp suddenly finds himself in the middle of a plot of the evil Mr. Myers, who is really Mogart, a rogue knight. He makes off with the sword - as Alfred later learns, the legendary Excalibur.

Driving fancy cars like Mercedes, Jaguars and Ferraris, Alfred Kropp is caught up in an ancient battle between good and evil, fighting a world that would give anything to have the Sword of Kings. Can he save all of mankind from the destruction that haunts his dreams? Or will Mogart succeed in his plot to take over the world?

This is an extraordinary adventure. Swordplay, guns, helicopters, fast cars and a striking conclusion make for a headlong, interesting read for teenagers. I thought Alfred Kropp was so plain, unwilling and even whining about his bad luck that perhaps the big lump may not make for such an interesting adventure. Who wants to read about the big dumb kid?

But Kropp offers an unusual insight to a most dangerous perspective. Hes the reality of every kid. He tries to succeed, he wants to do well, and he questions his decisions, none of which are easy. In the end, hes a true hero. He fights, he struggles, he accomplishes, and maybe not in the way he hopes but in the end, he truly is a knight.

Some sections seem almost unbelievable, leaving me scratching my head at times and thinking Is this possible? The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp lacks the certain flair of some other fantasy action books like Tofu and T. rex by Greg Leitich Smith or Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville. I think the difference is in the main hero. You dont want to hear your hero be depressed. Alfred, when compared to someone like Jeremy Thatcher, complains and generally makes you feel down about everything. And hes afraid of everything. Flying, horses, driving too fast even pain.

Still, the fast cars and action and supporting characters make up for what is lacking in Alfred Kropp. My favorite chapter has to be one of the last ones, where Alfred Kropp finds out who he truly is and proves he is more of a hero than he realizes. His true nature of wanting to make things right makes him a role model for other teenagers.

Rick Yancey does a wonderful job with description and with characterization, making for a wonderful adventure and an easy read. His simple style and voice as well as his sense of adventure are obvious throughout the whole text.

The ending screams sequel. I expect well be seeing some more of Alfred Kropp in the future. Id recommend this to any male teens who dig fancy cars and lots of action. It is action packed, with a smidgen of romance and lots of blood and guts. Alfred Kropp is certainly extraordinary.
 
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  Calissa Leigh/2005 for curled up with a good kid's book  






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