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Reviewed by Candace Valek for Readers' Favorite
Jolene: Adventures of a Junk Food Queen is a fantastic book. It is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets Alice and Wonderland. Creative, fun, and informative. When I first picked up the book, I was unsure how any author could make clean eating enjoyable or exciting. However, Alexa Palmer and Catharine Kaufman did just that. Now I am no "greaseologist," but I know a few things about junk food and how much kids are drawn to it. This entertaining story follows Jolene, a junk food queen, in learning that there is more out there than just candy and French fries. Not only do the authors teach about healthy eating, but they also do it in a way that the reader will go on an adventure to find nutritious alternatives to their junk food ways. I tried to pick a favorite character; however, it was tough. From the Cavity Ranger, Madame Fudge, Gumball Buddies, Pizza Police, and all the way to the Blender Babes, the characters had me completely entranced. I do have to say if I had to pick one personality, the Phantom of the French Fries was my favorite. (Who doesn't love French fries!) I adore how the authors also brought in another character named Sugar Sam to keep up the adventure and show readers that people can change.
Jolene: Adventure of a Junk Food Queen is written so that parents and children of any age will want to read it from beginning to end. The illustrations by John Martinez and Hayden Mills are exciting and amusing. The watercolor artwork really worked well with the storyline. The pictures reminded me of my kids when I asked them to eat healthily. Palmer and Kaufman's design of the writing and arrangement of the images made for an appealing read. One of my favorite parts was the recipes in the back of the book. I can't wait to try those with my little Junk Food creatures. Maybe they will receive some "greenergy" themselves. Thank you so much for a brilliant book and imaginary, whimsical read!