Ben Yokoyama and the Cookie of Doom is a totally unique and fun young reader novel. I went into this one with my usual low young reader expectations (as an adult reader) and was absolutely blown away by this charming story.

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The summary, from Amazon:

“This is my favorite book of the year.” —Lincoln Peirce, New York Times bestselling author of Big Nate series

Meet Ben, a literal-minded kid with a big heart and an even bigger sweet-tooth, who cracks open a fortune cookie and discovers that TODAY might be his last day on Earth! Perfect for fans of DIARY OF A WIMPY KID or THE TERRIBLE TWO.

Live each day as if it were your last.

When Ben reads his fortune-cookie fortune, he’s alarmed and inspired. Immediately, he begins drafting a bucket list of unfinished tasks and lifelong dreams (finish his 1000-piece model of the Taj Mahal, eat an entire cake, etc….). As Ben marches himself in and out of trouble, takes useful risks, and helps both his parents to see the bigger picture, readers discover how something that seems scary can instead be empowering–leading to friendships that might never have been made, neighbors that might never have been known, and apple pies that might otherwise never have been baked.

Buy Ben Yokoyama and the Cookie of Doom here.

When Ben’s fortune cookie tells him to live each day like it were his last, Ben takes the slip of paper seriously. He makes a checklist of activities he wants to complete if today were to be his final day of life. When he wakes up at midnight to get started, it’s not long before his best friend, family, and neighbors are involved, either reassuring him that today is not his last day or taking on his spirit to live today like its their last.

The illustrations in Ben Yokoyama really stand out. Each page is full of fun doodles, sketches, and more that really contribute to the text – think Diary of a Wimpy Kid but even more chaotically wonderful. I also loved the similes and metaphors in this book. It’s absolutely full of wonderful quotes like:

Ben ate them like a flame eats a piece of paper when you throw it in a fireplace.

…said Ben’s mom in a voice like the small, sharp knife you use to cut apples.

Ben’s mom knew pretty much everything, and she didn’t really like it when she stubbed her toe against something she didn’t.

Ben’s dad is an absolute gem and I loved Ben’s friendship with Janet. This is a promising start to what is sure to be a fun young reader series comparable to Amelia Bedelia and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

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Ben Yokoyama and the Cookie of DoomBen Yokoyama and the Cookie of Doom by Matthew Swanson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Awesome similes and metaphors! This was a great story. I adored Mrs. Ezra and Ben and Janet’s friendship. This book played like a movie in my head and I wish it was a movie!!

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Book Club Questions

  1. What’s a simile? What’s a metaphor?
  2. What was your favorite simile or metaphor in this book?
  3. Describe how each of the characters react to Ben’s fortune.
  4. Is it a good thing to live each day like it’s your last?

Interested? Buy Ben Yokoyama and the Cookie of Doom.
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