Get to Know Adam Rex
Photo courtesy of publisher
Adam Rex’s new novel is a big bowl of adventure, fantasy, mystery and laughs mixed together with smart kids, at least one missing parent and an eccentric leprechaun.
Author Adam Rex introduces Cold Cereal.
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Q & A with Adam Rex
Where did you get your idea for this book?
Cold Cereal kind of came from everywhere. After watching the movie The Royal Tenenbaums, I began a story about smart kids who were the unwitting subjects of a brain-altering experiment run by a sinister breakfast cereal company. Then I ran out of steam and put it away for a while. When I was younger I had a fear that if I hung my backpack over the hook on a bathroom stall door, someone would reach over while I was on the toilet and steal it. And then what would I do, run after him? No. If someone steals your backpack while you're on the toilet, it's gone. And so while waiting for a plane one day I started writing about a boy who has his backpack stolen by a leprechaun for some reason. And then I ran out of steam and put it away.
Back in 2010, I was kind of anxious because I couldn't decide what my next novel was going to be about. And I had the aforementioned stories started on my computer, plus one about a modern day dragon and the pop-star knights who have to fight it, and another about a time-travelling Merlin, and one or two others besides. Out of desperation, I threw all the pieces together, just to see what would happen. And they more or less fit, and that's when I started getting really excited about it all.
What was your favorite book when you were growing up?
It's not a kid's book exactly, but at around eleven years old I discovered The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams. It was like the book I'd been waiting for my whole life. I think it's also the first book that really made me aware of the author's voice - the first that I read not merely for plot, but because Adams could string together perfectly ordinary words into a sentence that was funnier and more interesting than it had any right to be.
How old were you when you started writing?
I could say I was five, because in kindergarten I wrote and illustrated my first story (The Battle), in which my mother is shown knife-fighting with dinosaurs (see drawing below). But the answer I think you're looking for is that I began writing in earnest while in high school. It was at this time that I started (and never finished) something like three novels, all of which were probably way too reminiscent of Douglas Adams's style.
What is your favorite word?
For most of my adult life I've thought the word "sandwich" is funnier than everyone else seems to think it is. I can't trace this back to any kind of hilarious sandwich anecdote or anything, so it's probably because of a head injury. I've been hit by two different cars (on separate occasions).
What is your favorite book about Chicago?
I really enjoyed Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City, which is about both the planning and execution of the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, and also the true story of a killer who used the confusion of the fair to prey on travelers. I may be one of the few readers who preferred all the architecture and landscaping chapters to the serial killing.
I'm also a big fan of the work of cartoonist Chris Ware, whose stories seem to always be steeped in Chicago's mood and history. I particularly enjoyed Ware's collaboration on the short film and book Lost Buildings, about the changing (and disappearing) architecture of the city.
More to Explore
- There are many references to King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table in this book. Who was King Arthur? Who where the Knights of the Round Table? What legends surround Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table?
- To solve one of Mr. Wilson's games, Scott and Erno meet Merle Lynn. Could he be the Merlin?
- Emily believes that their nanny, Biggs, is Bigfoot. Does Bigfoot really exist?
- Erno and Emily created their own "supergame," Ronopolisk. Create your own board game.
- Love breakfast cereal? Play some fun breakfast cereal games!
- Read the book with friends? Use this helpful guide to start your discussion.
Loved Cold Cereal? Try These Books Next
The Brixton Brothers series
By Mac Barnett, illustrated by Adam Rex
Simon and Schuster
The Doom Machine
By Mark Teague
Blue Sky, 2009
Kingdom Keepers series
By Ridley Pearson
The Time Hackers
By Gary Paulsen
Wendy Lamb, 2005
By M.T. Anderson, illustrated by Kurt Cyrus
Beach Lane, 2011
Also by Adam Rex
Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich
Frankenstein Takes the Cake
Websites About the AuthorAdam Rex's website »
HarperCollins Adam Rex site »