Title: The Fizzy Whiz Kid
Author: Maiya Williams
Publisher: Amulet Books
Concepts: marketing, producers, consumers, jobs, careers, tradeoffs, opportunity cost
Review: As a result of all the moves his family already made, Mitch had learned the golden rule of fitting in at any new school: do not stand out. Mitch tried his best to follow this rule when another job change caused his family to move to Hollywood, California. However, blending in proved exceedingly difficult when just about every kid in the new school had some sort of personal connection to the entertainment industry. Mitch's parents did not even own a television, and he had never seen a single installment of Star Wars.
Little did Mitch realize how quickly a casting call for fresh talent could transform him from a school nobody into a hot new superstar. Landing the role of the fizzy whiz kid in a commercial for a sugary soda seemed like the ticket to respect and friendship that he so desperately wanted at school. It also stirred up interest in learning more about the film industry, an interest he never knew he had. Yet the benefits of celebrity proved to entail tradeoffs that Mitch had not anticipated. Could he adjust to this new lifestyle while protecting the values that had hitherto defined his identity?
This novel serves up a satisfying blend of substance and fun as the lead character, a well-intentioned yet somewhat naïve sixth grader, navigates his way through the Hollywood scene. Reflecting her own experience-based knowledge of the entertainment industry, the author does a superb job in describing the different occupations involved in film and television production as well as the dynamics of working on set. The Fizzy Whiz Kid is as refreshing and memorable as the title suggests.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children