“Mind-blowing action and big-time fun!” —Jeff Kinney, bestselling author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series
In the rollicking series brought to you by New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of The Last Kids on Earth…
Meet Cosmoe, the Earth-Boy. He’s captain of the Neon Weiner, the finest flying food truck in the galaxy. Along with his bud, Big Humphree, he spends his days cruising the cosmos and staying crazy busy…
1. Cooking up a Mega-Dog. (Dude, this hot dog is the size of a jeep!)
2. Escaping mutant worm monsters, zombie space pirates, and grumpy robots. (What the butt?!)
3. Playing Super Moon Ninja Death Jab (Turbo Ear Slap! 9,000 points!!)
4. And…PROTECTING THE GALAXY from the Ultimate Evil. (He’s kind of an awesome space guy.)
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A Reading Group Guide to
Galactic Hot Dogs, Book 1:
Cosmoe’s Wiener Getaway
By Max Brallier
Illustrated by Rachel Maguire
Strap into the Neon Wiener intragalactic food truck and get ready for a wild ride with Cosmoe the Earth-Boy and his sidekick, Big Humphree, on a series of adventures through outer space! The excitement starts when Princess Dagger, daughter of the Evil Queen, kidnaps herself onto the Neon Wiener, leading to a showdown with some wicked-fast fighter ships. Next up, the crew must hunt down and defeat the “Ultimate Evil,” and also sell some snacks along the way. The hybrid graphic novel format packs action into every page, with speech bubbles and humorous asides adding to the fun of Cosmoe’s first-person narrative. Readers will happily dive into this zany tale of friendship, courage, . . . and giant hot dogs.
1. Describe Cosmoe in terms of appearance and personality. Give examples of his strengths and weaknesses. What role does Goober play in Cosmoe’s exploits? Discuss whether you think Cosmoe is a hero.
2. Use the stats graph in Chapter 1 to talk about Humphree, his background, and his personality. Do you agree with the analysis of his traits on the graph, including sense of humor, awesomeness, and so on?
3. Describe the relationship between Cosmoe and Humphree. When do they agree with each other? When do they disagree? Give examples of scenes in the book where Humphree helps Cosmoe, and others where Cosmoe helps Humphree.
4. The Evil Queen insists that her daughter, Princess Dagger, is evil. Cosmoe disagrees. Describe the princess and some of her actions, discussing whether you think she’s evil. Give examples of how she may or may not change over the course of the story. In what ways do Cosmoe and Humphree help her reveal her true nature?
5. Cosmoe says, “Our duo has become a trio” at the end of Chapter 5. What does he mean, and why does he say it then? Find a scene where the three characters work together, and describe what each of them contribute.
6. How important are villains to the plot? Describe Queen Dagger, her actions, and how you know she’s evil. Discuss General Krax Von Grumble and what he does to Cosmoe and Cosmoe’s friends. Are they effective villains? Why or why not?
7. Pictures supply a lot of the action and setting for the story. Take a close look at the first ten pages, and describe what you learn only from the pictures that aren’t in the text. What do the pictures add besides information?
8. In most novels, the print is the same size throughout the book, except for chapter titles and headings. In this book, the print varies in what kind and size of font is used. At times the print is in all capital letters. Some of the text is in speech bubbles. Analyze the impact of these design choices and what they add to the story. How different would it be if the print size and font were the same throughout?
Buy ’em Here!
Have children imagine their own intragalactic food truck and create a poster to advertise it. They need to decide what kind of food they would sell and what they would name it. The poster should show their food truck, which might reflect the food itself, and include a menu. The text should include words and slogans that would attract customers.
And Then What?
In the last chapter, Princess Dagger suggests they start on a new adventure. Cosmoe responds, “Let’s find us some trouble.” Working in small groups, have children brainstorm the next adventure, including a new villain. Once they have decided on an idea, the kids should write a short narrative giving a plot summary of the next adventure.
Guide written by Kathleen Odean, a former school librarian and Chair of the 2002 Newbery Award Committee. She gives professional development workshops on books for young people and is the author of Great Books for Girls and Great Books about Things Kids Love.
This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.
Max Brallier is the author of more than twenty books for children and adults, including tie-in books for the popular show Adventure Time and the acclaimed Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? He lives with his wife, Alyse, in New York City, where he spends his time chasing fortune, glory, and the perfect hot dog.
– Jeff Kinney, author of the bestselling DIARY OF A WIMPY KID
This highly illustrated story has something for every demographic, offering robots, zombies, hot dogs, a princess, video games and wrestlers. This is not a complete list. Even people who hate princesses might enjoy the book, thanks to snarky dialogue. Hero Cosmoe gasps, "What the butt?! What are you doing here??" "Stealing your ship, silly. I'm an evil princess. Y'know?" Princess Dagger knowingly responds. Cosmoe just wants to serve up hot dogs (his food truck is called the Neon Wiener), but he's being chased around the galaxy by Evil Queen Dagger and her Royal Armada, who are after the princess. Within a few chapters, he's fighting zombie space pirates. The fight scenes are the weakest parts of the book. They read like transcripts of video games: "He swings! I duck AND—WHOOSH!—The Boss Worm's fist flies over my head. NOW! YES!" It's hard to engage emotionally when most of the nouns and verbs are missing. But there are some terrific jokes. When Cosmoe is getting tossed around by a robot, he muses, "Now I know what underwear in a dryer feels like…." The overall effect is like a little like flipping through every channel on cable TV. The book is so frenetic that some readers will need caffeine to get through it, but in the end, that turns out to be an advantage: If a joke doesn't work, or if readers get bored, all they have to do is turn the page. (Graphic/science-fiction hybrid. 7-12)
– Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2015
Readers who enjoyed Brallier and Maguire’s Galactic Hot Dogs webcomic (or played around in the recently launched Poptropica.com island set in the same universe) can follow the travails of Cosmoe the Earth-Boy, alien cohort Big Humphree, and maybe-evil Princess Dagger in this print adaptation. Covering the same territory as the 26 chapters of Cosmoe’s story available at Funbrain.com, this hybrid novel/comic follows Cosmoe’s attempts to gather the pieces of the Map-O-Sphere, which purportedly leads the way to the Ultimate Evil. Brallier’s story races ahead at what in the film Space Balls would be called “ludicrous speed.” Maguire does a heroic job of keeping up with twists and turns that include run-ins with Zombie Space Pirates and the villainous General Krax von Grumble, as well as intergalactic wrestling and video-game tournaments; even so, the action isn’t easy to track. Planet-shaking sound effects (“SHHH-BLAM!!!”) and lowbrow humor proliferate (“There are 19,476 doom-suns in the known galaxy and they’re all hot as butts”), adding up to a whirlwind SF adventure that doesn’t take itself a bit seriously.
– Publishers Weekly, March 30, 2015
This print edition of the webcomic Galactic Hot Dogs compiles the first 26 chapters into a more or less cohesive tale featuring young Earth gamer Cosmoe and his hulking alien buddy Humphree. Rocketing through interstellar space aboard their futuristic hot dog stand, The Neon Wiener, the two start by trying to enter their Mega-Dog in the Great Intragalactic Food Truck Cook-Off, end by blowing up a humongous evil monster with a crate of Humphree’s Hot Hot Sauce, and in between face challenges ranging from zombie space pirates to dealing with annoying stowaway Princess Dagger. The page design, which tends toward a mad, jagged jumble of fragmentary black-and-white action cartoons, boxes of hyped-up dialogue, splinters of narrative text in multiple sizes, and loud sound effects, takes getting used to but effectively conveys the furious pacing of the plot’s roller-coaster array of feats and fails. Readers who have already stepped up to the Neon Wiener online will welcome newly added comments between chapters by a robotic sidekick.
– Booklist Online, April 8, 2015
Cosmoehas a snarky response to every situation, and evil queens, monster worms, andkiller robots aren’t going to keep him from sharing his perspective. Co-ownerof the best food truck in the galaxy, the Neon Wiener, he’s cruising along justfine without a sidekick princess, thank you very much, but he gets one anywayafter Princess Dagger decides to break away from her Evil Queen mother. Thesnappy dialogue, quick pace, and compact text (most pages are partially to mostlyillustration, in a format appealing to graphic-novel lovers) keep things movingat the right speed for such an outlandish plot. Cosmoe’s tendency to shoutirreverent things at any opportunity (“Butts!” is a favored exclamation), hisfearlessness, and his cool alien best friends make him quite the appealingprotagonist, and readers will be right there with him, hoping he can save theday and get back to making the best hot dogs in the galaxy pronto. Alien factlists, clever sidenotes, and amusing, comic book–style art add to theparty.
– Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, September 2015
The slang and invented language used along with thepremise of this book, first in a new series, is silly. However, the sciencefiction adventure story is more than meets the eye and as it unfolded I foundmyself laughing out loud. Cosmoe is the captain of the best flying foodtruck around the galaxy. In addition to cooking hot dogs, he protects theuniverse from the evil villain. Students with lower reading comprehensionskills would truly enjoy this book. Text features are interesting and theF.R.E.D facts will help lure kids into being excited about reading. Reluctantreaders will be engaged in the graphics illustrations, short facts inserted intothe middle of a chapter, and the easy-to-read sentences. The book is funny,engaging, and has the potential to turn a non-reading student into someone wholoves books.
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More books in this series: Galactic Hot Dogs
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