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A Cheese Related Mishap and Other Stories Review by Dena Wood

By Ray Friesen
Don't Eat Any Bugs, Productions
PO Box 291
Tehachapi, CA 93581

A Cheese Related Mishap and Other Stories is a 94 page comic adventure story (kind of) written by 17 year old Ray Friesen. Ray does a good job of giving you a preview to his style in the book's introduction. " stories tend to be character-driven. Oh, sure there's a plot, but it comes and goes. Don't be overly concerned." He goes on to say, "...this is genuinely an 'All Ages Humor' book. I can say this because at least two people have read it, and they're definitely not the same age." Ray warns us to sit back and enjoy the silliness, comedy and mayhem.

In all honesty, this is not the type of book that would normally appeal to me. I can't say that I read comics, in general. And if I was going to, I would not likely be drawn to one starring Eggner von Shmoodledike, the quantam cheeseologist and absent-minded professor who is trying to keep his "grand cheese invention" safe from the nefarious Jarvis van Chickenheimer and his chicken Ninjas! Stories involving cheese, penguins, chicken Ninja's and "big nosed hooligans...planning anti-cheese activities" are not normally my cup of tea. However, I will admit to being surprisingly amused throughout this tale.

Ray admits his humor is "weird" so I doubt he will take offense when I agree. It's weird - really weird. I would go so far as to say, off-the-wall. There are so many different styles of humor going at once, that one is bound to strike your funny bone. The book is peppered with silly, non-plot oriented conversations like the following.

"So, you found the soda then??
"No, this is the juice from the lab."
"You figured out which was the juice and which was the poison?"
"Yeah. Probably. Whatever."

Several unrelated mini-adventures involving "Captain Cautious & The Six Million Dollar Lamb" and "TByrd Fearlessness" are sandwiched between Part 1 and Part 2 of A Cheese Related Mishap. Why? To add suspense, of course!

I must disagree with the author that this book is appropriate for all ages. I would give it an age recommendation of middle school and up. While I can't say that I see it as a great educational tool, the stories do use a highly developed and challenging vocabulary. If you have a child interested in humor or comics this would make a good piece to study. If your teen or pre-teen enjoys things "the sillier-the-better", this is the book for them.

While generally non-offensive, there are a few terms and phrases that have potential to cause concern. For example, stink bombs are sent with the message, "I hate you. You smell." and "Cheese sucks!" buttons are worn by certain characters. While all intended in fun and silliness, I know some parents prefer to avoid this type of humor. Another reason I don't see this humor as directed to anyone under middle school age.

This is the type of book that some will find hilarious and others will find ridiculous. Hopefully, I've given you enough information to determine which it is for you.

-- Product Review by Dena Wood, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February, 2006