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Carnival Catastrophe

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The Problims try to win the Corn Dog Carnival and rescue their missing mama in the second book in The Problim Children series. All siblings are capable of magic if they stick together. But trusting each other isn’t easy for the Problim siblings when neighbors like Desdemona and Carly-Rue O’Pinion are working double-time to turn the town against them. From catapulting cattle The Problims try to win the Corn Dog Carnival and rescue their missing mama in the second book in The Problim Children series. All siblings are capable of magic if they stick together. But trusting each other isn’t easy for the Problim siblings when neighbors like Desdemona and Carly-Rue O’Pinion are working double-time to turn the town against them. From catapulting cattle to runaway corndogs to spiders on the pageant stage, the Problim brothers and sisters are blamed for every catastrophe at this year’s carnival. And to top it all off, Mama Problim is missing! Can the seven siblings come together in time to save the carnival and rescue their mom from a villain even more dastardly than Desdemona? Or will they discover too late what it truly means to be a Problim?


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The Problims try to win the Corn Dog Carnival and rescue their missing mama in the second book in The Problim Children series. All siblings are capable of magic if they stick together. But trusting each other isn’t easy for the Problim siblings when neighbors like Desdemona and Carly-Rue O’Pinion are working double-time to turn the town against them. From catapulting cattle The Problims try to win the Corn Dog Carnival and rescue their missing mama in the second book in The Problim Children series. All siblings are capable of magic if they stick together. But trusting each other isn’t easy for the Problim siblings when neighbors like Desdemona and Carly-Rue O’Pinion are working double-time to turn the town against them. From catapulting cattle to runaway corndogs to spiders on the pageant stage, the Problim brothers and sisters are blamed for every catastrophe at this year’s carnival. And to top it all off, Mama Problim is missing! Can the seven siblings come together in time to save the carnival and rescue their mom from a villain even more dastardly than Desdemona? Or will they discover too late what it truly means to be a Problim?

30 review for Carnival Catastrophe

  1. 5 out of 5

    Belles Middle Grade Library

    I love the 7 Problim kids! They are so amazing! From their names, to the days of the week, to the “talent” each of them have. They are also so loving, loyal, brave, fierce, protective, smart, & so determined. This one involves a carnival that happens in the town. They are still following along the same mission, but so much happens in this one, & we learn so much! The twists that happen took me by complete surprise. Always love when a book can do that. Still all the adventure, danger, humor, & fo I love the 7 Problim kids! They are so amazing! From their names, to the days of the week, to the “talent” each of them have. They are also so loving, loyal, brave, fierce, protective, smart, & so determined. This one involves a carnival that happens in the town. They are still following along the same mission, but so much happens in this one, & we learn so much! The twists that happen took me by complete surprise. Always love when a book can do that. Still all the adventure, danger, humor, & focus on family & friendships that the 1st book had that I love. The 1st book went back & forth from Wendell & Thea’s point of view-I’m guessing b/c they’re twins they got one book together. This one was from Mona’s point of view..so that makes me wonder if there will be more books, or will it just be a trilogy? Since there are so many siblings..🤔🤔I’m always hoping for more lol I love Mona. She is dark, moody, devious, & a prankster in all the best ways. She reminds me sort of of Lydia from Beetlejuice-in SOME ways...like her aesthetic. She can come across as mean, but she’s not trying to be. She doesn’t like people thinking she’s cruel. She learns a lot about others, & about herself in the book..things that surprise her, & it was great to read. Some very important lessons in here. That ending! Wow! So glad I have the 3rd one ready to read or I would be stressed! Lol different illustrator on this one, but cover is just as beautiful, w/amazing illustrations throughout too! Gilbert Ford does amazing work always!!😍😍 Highly recommend!!💜💜

  2. 5 out of 5

    Deanna Holdsworth

    The Problim family is one of my favorite book families. With seven children all with different talents there is sure to be at least one character each reader will love. Boys will especially enjoy Toot who communicates through farts! Mama Problim is still missing but all the children are happy that their father is home and that the neighbors can no longer try to separate them, sending each to a different continent. The children are working on finding a treasure their grandfather found and he has The Problim family is one of my favorite book families. With seven children all with different talents there is sure to be at least one character each reader will love. Boys will especially enjoy Toot who communicates through farts! Mama Problim is still missing but all the children are happy that their father is home and that the neighbors can no longer try to separate them, sending each to a different continent. The children are working on finding a treasure their grandfather found and he has left them clues to find the treasure and destroy it. As they search for the bones that will connect and become the Water Witch they solve the clues to find the treasure. Mona Problim especially hopes to fine Mama as well as the treasure during this family adventure. When they learn they must go to the Pirate Cove to find the treasure they each enter a contest in the yearly Corn Dog Carnival. Each child enters a contest in which they are sure to win, however, Mona ends up in the Corn Dog Princess Pageant and she is nothing like a princess. Mona hopes to play a prank on the girl who usually wins and her nemesis, Carly Rae, during the competition. When the prank goes wrong Mona learns that sometimes pranks can go too far. She also finds the other girls in the pageant enjoying being around her since she stays true to herself not conforming to regular pageant regulations. For example, on Dress Up Night she shows up in a costume thinking that is "dress up"....the rest all look the part of princess. Will Mona be able to pull of a win? Will she be unable to go with her siblings to the Pirate Cove? You will need to read this exciting tale of family, friends and fun to find out.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    Mona continues to be my favorite character. She reminds me a little of The Grinch, Pippi Longstocking, Matilda, and Wednesday from the Addams Family. I love how Violet describes her as a "thundercloud, pretty but kind of scary." The way she rolls her eyes, how she can be moody, sometimes blunt with her words, sneaky and how rain is her favorite weather. And how she's always plotting her next dastardly deed. Pranks are one of her specialties, and where Carly-Rue is concerned, she owes her rival a Mona continues to be my favorite character. She reminds me a little of The Grinch, Pippi Longstocking, Matilda, and Wednesday from the Addams Family. I love how Violet describes her as a "thundercloud, pretty but kind of scary." The way she rolls her eyes, how she can be moody, sometimes blunt with her words, sneaky and how rain is her favorite weather. And how she's always plotting her next dastardly deed. Pranks are one of her specialties, and where Carly-Rue is concerned, she owes her rival a revenge prank for Carly-Rue and her mom trying to kick them out of town. But when Mona's prank goes a bit too far, she starts to worry that she might be seen by her friends and family as a bully or a villain. Usually, it's not in her nature to worry about what other people think of her, but now she's becoming more introspective, taking into account other people's feelings. She really doesn't want to seem cruel or unkind. As in the first book, I love the bond that the Problim children have with one another, each child has their own strengths, and are always looking out for one another. There's even a fun riddle to solve, hijinks at the carnival and beautiful messaging about finding one "good truth" to tell someone, and that it's important to lead with the good. Favorite line: "I believe everyone has their own song playing deep in their soul. When you hear the music they make, you see a very vulnerable part of their heart."

  4. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    Not having read the first book in the Problim Children series, I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up Carnival Catastrophe. I ended up liking it enough that I will most likely read the 1st and 3rd volumes in the series. While I could have done without Toot's constant tooting (his form of communicating his feelings), it adds to the quirkiness of the Problim family. It took me a few chapters to get all seven of the Problim children figured out, but once I did, I enjoyed reading about each o Not having read the first book in the Problim Children series, I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up Carnival Catastrophe. I ended up liking it enough that I will most likely read the 1st and 3rd volumes in the series. While I could have done without Toot's constant tooting (his form of communicating his feelings), it adds to the quirkiness of the Problim family. It took me a few chapters to get all seven of the Problim children figured out, but once I did, I enjoyed reading about each of them and their uniqueness. The Problim family faces some rather difficult circumstances. While their father has returned home, saving them from being separated and sent to seven different continents (1st book), their mother is still missing. Mona, especially, is eager to rescue her mother. The Problim children use their rather unique talents to discover twigs that together will lead them to what remains of the fountain of youth, but can they get there before their enemies? And can they find and rescue their mother along the way. In addition to the main story line involving finding a way to the island where the fountain of youth supposedly lies, Mona also discovers that her bluntness sometimes leads her to do cruel things and maybe she doesn't need to behave that way in order to be loved. This is a good series for young readers who like a strong dose of quirkiness mixed in with their stories of super-powered characters.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Virginia

    So delightful.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    Find my full review here: http://www.yabookscentral.com/kidsfic... CARNIVAL CATASTROPHE follows the seven Problim children as they continue their search for their mother. The seven siblings must work together if they have any chance- together they are strong. However, with some of the children distrusting the neighbors, the O'Pinions and their long-time family rivals, tearing them apart, they will have to learn to see the bigger picture and judge for themselves. The book primarily follows Mona Pro Find my full review here: http://www.yabookscentral.com/kidsfic... CARNIVAL CATASTROPHE follows the seven Problim children as they continue their search for their mother. The seven siblings must work together if they have any chance- together they are strong. However, with some of the children distrusting the neighbors, the O'Pinions and their long-time family rivals, tearing them apart, they will have to learn to see the bigger picture and judge for themselves. The book primarily follows Mona Problim, who is clever but also pretty. She distrusts the entire O'Pinion family, even though some of her siblings trust the children next door (though clearly the mother Desdemona O'Pinion has it out for them). As each of the Problim children is having dreams about their mother as they search for the sticks that can help them to find her, they decide to enter the town Carnival contests. The prize is to go into the caverns, where they suspect they may find something. With riddles to solve, contests to be won, and lots of mystery afoot, this book is anything but boring. With some themes about not judging others based on appearances or prejudices, supporting family unconditionally, being true to yourself, and working together, this book has some great underlying messages. What I loved: The story is overall humorous and has some really funny moments. For instance, Mona goes to the pageant's dress-up portion in a vampire costume, and of course, there is the humor children will appreciate of how baby Toot communicates through his gas (he has hundreds of different toots, categorized and described in footnotes). While the overall mystery continues as a thread connecting the books (where is Mama Problim?), there are a lot of smaller plotlines in this book that make it its own complete story. The lessons learned by the children- particularly Mona here- are really invaluable and given in an approachable way. For instance, what she learns about her neighbor and rival, Carly-Rue O'Pinion and how she ends up changing her stance on her. Final verdict: Great for fans of Lemony Snicket, The Goonies, and general hijinks will enjoy this irreverent and comical middle grade fiction. With funny and teachable moments, this series is great for the older elementary school audience.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mark Buxton

    My name is Mona, and some people say I'm cruel. I only say what I think and don't care how they feel about it, but is that cruel? My father tells me to look for the good in everyone, but I can't find anything good about Carly-Rue. The Problims have been feuding with her family for years, and her mom is trying to break up my family. I've got to find my mom as quickly as possible. She hasn't returned from searching for the treasure, and my visions tell me she's in danger. We will have a way to fin My name is Mona, and some people say I'm cruel. I only say what I think and don't care how they feel about it, but is that cruel? My father tells me to look for the good in everyone, but I can't find anything good about Carly-Rue. The Problims have been feuding with her family for years, and her mom is trying to break up my family. I've got to find my mom as quickly as possible. She hasn't returned from searching for the treasure, and my visions tell me she's in danger. We will have a way to find her if we can locate the last of the seven twigs. Meanwhile, I'm thinking of another way to annoy Carly-Rue. I know she's the defending carnival queen, but how would she feel about some unexpected competition? This book was nominated for a 2020 Cybils Award, but I didn't read the first book. I felt like I was missing something early in the plot, but I was able to enjoy things as the story moved along. Each of the seven Problim children had a connection to a day of the week and something in nature, as Mona associated with Monday and the moon gave her some abilities. She was the main character, and much of the story found her learning to deal with others. She loved to play pranks and speak her mind, but she didn't understand why her behavior hurt other characters. The town carnival's pageant provided the best opportunity for her transformation, and many things about her character and the Problim family changed. Imagine a mischievous girl participating in a competition with dress-up, Q&A, and a talent show. I didn't fully understand why the community seemed leery of the Problims but then cheered and supported them. Maybe the first book shed some light on that. The overall plot was driven by the search for a fountain of youth, and that brought up some philosophical ideas about living forever. A long-term conflict was resolved in the end, but a new conflict emerged that will be the focus of the book's sequel. I must mention the youngest Problim child, because it could offend some readers. He communicated through farts, and the author included footnotes to explain the different meanings. I assume it was done for humor, but it didn't bother me. Overall, give the book a shot.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kristin Crouch

    Thank you to the author for sharing an ARC of Carnival Catastrophe with Collabookation. The g-baby is just getting to know Pippi Longstocking ~ and as she does, I'm getting to know the Problims. I didn't realize why I loved the Problims so much until I was reading Pippi with g-baby. The things I love about Pippi are the same things I love about Matilda, are the same things I love about the Problims. These kids have all the best traits: a strong love of learning, bravery, kindness, and most of al Thank you to the author for sharing an ARC of Carnival Catastrophe with Collabookation. The g-baby is just getting to know Pippi Longstocking ~ and as she does, I'm getting to know the Problims. I didn't realize why I loved the Problims so much until I was reading Pippi with g-baby. The things I love about Pippi are the same things I love about Matilda, are the same things I love about the Problims. These kids have all the best traits: a strong love of learning, bravery, kindness, and most of all, empowerment. All of these kids are (basically) alone in the world, but they all feel empowered to solve any problem that comes their way. They all face adversity, but they all are brave enough to try to overcome it. And all of these kids love, love, love learning about the world. In Carnival Catastrophe, there is even more to laud when we see Mona begin to think critically about who she is, and who others think she is. She isn't afraid to put down her defenses to really learn about herself, and she is brave enough to try to change her ways so she isn't so misunderstood. While it's true that Carnival Catastrophe is fully of magical, fantastical elements, it is also full of simple truths of life. I love the Problims, am thrilled to know there's a third on the way, and I'm grateful to the author for creating so many thoughtful characters for my students (and g-baby) to meet!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Karen McKenna

    I loved catching up with the Problim children again. They are quirky, strong, loving, and resourceful. Just the kind of kids it is a delight to go on an adventure with. If the Problims are involved, you know there will be mischief and fun. In this book, they are on a quest to find the last pieces of the water witch that will lead them to a treasure (and hopefully their missing mother). It is also the annual corndog carnival in town, and the Problims must win contests for the prize of a boat trip I loved catching up with the Problim children again. They are quirky, strong, loving, and resourceful. Just the kind of kids it is a delight to go on an adventure with. If the Problims are involved, you know there will be mischief and fun. In this book, they are on a quest to find the last pieces of the water witch that will lead them to a treasure (and hopefully their missing mother). It is also the annual corndog carnival in town, and the Problims must win contests for the prize of a boat trip to complete their quest. Dark, daring Mona enters the beauty contest against her arch nemesis Carly-Rue O'Pinion. But when a prank goes too far, she wonders how you can tell who is the hero or the villain in a story. She also realizes that she longs to fit in and belong. There are so many important life truths bound up in her struggle to determine who she is and how she should interact with the world. I loved her answer for what is beautiful in the pageant. I cheered when I saw that a 3rd book will be coming soon! #LitReviewCrew

  10. 5 out of 5

    Meg Dendler

    Delightful once again, Natalie! This is the second book in what will clearly be a longer series about the Problim family. Kirkus Reviews equates her style to Roald Dahl, and it certainly holds true for this series. You have to be ready for serious levels of ridiculousness, as well as hundreds of toddler farts that can be identified by name and purpose via Toot Problim. As an adult reader, I'm sure my head comes at some of the family's antics with a bit more annoyance. They are really quite a ter Delightful once again, Natalie! This is the second book in what will clearly be a longer series about the Problim family. Kirkus Reviews equates her style to Roald Dahl, and it certainly holds true for this series. You have to be ready for serious levels of ridiculousness, as well as hundreds of toddler farts that can be identified by name and purpose via Toot Problim. As an adult reader, I'm sure my head comes at some of the family's antics with a bit more annoyance. They are really quite a terror to the city! I was definitely becoming concerned that some of their tricks were downright bullying, but that is all part of the story and the lessons that Mona especially has to learn. Revelations about friendship and loyalty, piles of silliness, circus spiders, a robot squirrel, the celebration of the unique wonderfulness of each individual, and some gasp-worthy twists at the end put this book on my highly recommended list for young readers.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Amybarker

    This is the second book in the Problim Children series. I enjoy Natalie Lloyd's book so much. She makes the world magical, but doesn't call it magic, it's just how things are! (Think science, before we understood it as such, seemed like magic!) And the Problim children are no exception. This book was entirely from Mona's perspective, who loves all things goth and creepy. But her perspective is actually very refreshing. She says "pretty" is the most boring thing people can be described as. (Altho This is the second book in the Problim Children series. I enjoy Natalie Lloyd's book so much. She makes the world magical, but doesn't call it magic, it's just how things are! (Think science, before we understood it as such, seemed like magic!) And the Problim children are no exception. This book was entirely from Mona's perspective, who loves all things goth and creepy. But her perspective is actually very refreshing. She says "pretty" is the most boring thing people can be described as. (Although her sister does point out that it's very easy for Mona to say that because people call her that all the time. Interesting point.) Mona's description of "what is beautiful" is my favorite part of the book. Worth a read for kids and adults alike! (As long as adults can get past all the "toot" references...)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lesley Burnap

    Oooh! Can’t I have # 3 now? 😆 The Problim Children are the kind of kids you wish you knew when you were young! Each one is special in their own way, each making their way in the world. In this story, Mona works through some issues as the children gather the bone-sticks to lead them to their parents and a hidden treasure! Will they find their beloved family, or not?!? Guess I’ll just have to wait (impatiently) for book 3! So many wonderful author messages, about girls & their image in society, ki Oooh! Can’t I have # 3 now? 😆 The Problim Children are the kind of kids you wish you knew when you were young! Each one is special in their own way, each making their way in the world. In this story, Mona works through some issues as the children gather the bone-sticks to lead them to their parents and a hidden treasure! Will they find their beloved family, or not?!? Guess I’ll just have to wait (impatiently) for book 3! So many wonderful author messages, about girls & their image in society, kids who follow their dreams, making new rules, etc.! Leave it to Natalie to weave it all together, as precisely as a circus spider! 🕷

  13. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    Lloyd offers further character development and back story information in book 2 of this series. In particular, readers learn more about Mona Problim. She struggles with who she is and how she wants to be seen. The seven children continue to search for the water witch pieces and do locate all of them. They learn more about the feud and discover an enemy far worse than Desdemona. A startling discovery toward the end shows that the two families are actually related. Humor, adventure, some mild susp Lloyd offers further character development and back story information in book 2 of this series. In particular, readers learn more about Mona Problim. She struggles with who she is and how she wants to be seen. The seven children continue to search for the water witch pieces and do locate all of them. They learn more about the feud and discover an enemy far worse than Desdemona. A startling discovery toward the end shows that the two families are actually related. Humor, adventure, some mild suspense and a lot of misadventures bring this tale to life. A definite cliffhanger to end the book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    I love this author, her latest book Over The Moon was one my oldest and I enjoyed a lot. I'm not sure why, but I just don't love this series and it weirds me out because it has all the right ingredients. Siblings who are super different and yet love each other to death, mystery, etc. I think I can't get over the tooth footnotes (which I skipped aside from the names this round) and the creepy illustrations. Sigh. I love this author, her latest book Over The Moon was one my oldest and I enjoyed a lot. I'm not sure why, but I just don't love this series and it weirds me out because it has all the right ingredients. Siblings who are super different and yet love each other to death, mystery, etc. I think I can't get over the tooth footnotes (which I skipped aside from the names this round) and the creepy illustrations. Sigh.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tirzah

    I had forgotten a lot of the first book, but some things came back to me as I read. Unfortunately, this was the book I was reading while moving, so it took longer to read it and my mind only half-absorbed it. However, it was still good and had some meaningful quotes that made you stop and think. I recommend to readers who like reading crazy plot lines accompanied by sibling love and a dose of magic.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    Didn't enjoy this one as much as the first. I like that the plot progresses and we learn more (definitely wasn't expecting that one particular twist!) about the Problim family. And I liked Mona being the sort of main character, because she always confused me in the first book. She seemed so mean and creepy and different from the rest of her siblings, but I liked seeing the reasoning and her thought processes in this book. Didn't enjoy this one as much as the first. I like that the plot progresses and we learn more (definitely wasn't expecting that one particular twist!) about the Problim family. And I liked Mona being the sort of main character, because she always confused me in the first book. She seemed so mean and creepy and different from the rest of her siblings, but I liked seeing the reasoning and her thought processes in this book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cheriee Weichel

    What I love about these books isn't the plot so much as it is the character development. In this book it is especially true about Mona. While she is fair of face, Mona has a darker side. She has to learn to find the good in everyone and let them know she sees it. It isn't easy. That said, the plot, full of suspense and action, is impressive too. I only wish it didn't end on a cliffhanger. What I love about these books isn't the plot so much as it is the character development. In this book it is especially true about Mona. While she is fair of face, Mona has a darker side. She has to learn to find the good in everyone and let them know she sees it. It isn't easy. That said, the plot, full of suspense and action, is impressive too. I only wish it didn't end on a cliffhanger.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Leah Grover

    In her first sequel, Lloyd touches on real-life issues like jealousy, forgiveness, and being yourself—even when your loved ones aren’t so sure—at the same time as revealing Problim family secrets and sending the reader on an adventure suffused with her classic hope and charm.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Edwards

    Loved how the development character traits of each sibling worked together. Once I started reading, I did not want to stop! I want to know what happens, so I cannot wait to read the next book in the series!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    I think I loved this more than the first one! I loved getting to know this sweet family of seven more and more, as well as their friends, neighbors, and community. I also love how much they love each other, and look out for each other even though sibling rivalry is a real thing.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michele Knott

    Enjoyed this one even more than the first. What a fun ending... I’m already ready for more Problims.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Donna Foster

    Lots of corky children with some weird energy vibes in this middle grade story.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Great next installment to the story of the Problims! Loved the poetic commentary about gender stereotypes and being true to yourself. Looking forward to the next book!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    These are such fun characters and I love the author. The only problem with this one is, that the next one isn't out yet. I really want the next one NOW! These are such fun characters and I love the author. The only problem with this one is, that the next one isn't out yet. I really want the next one NOW!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lisa D

    Cute addition to this series! Loved it!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    Awesome second installment! Waiting for the next one.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lara Samuels

    Explores the complicated nature of family and friends. Series worth investing in for school libraries.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mai

    3++. I liked this one much better than the first in the series. Still clearly leaving the story unfinished which always bothers me. But a good interesting kids' book 3++. I liked this one much better than the first in the series. Still clearly leaving the story unfinished which always bothers me. But a good interesting kids' book

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cassidy

    You will never want to stop reading it!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ariadne Christoph

    Yet another fun and heartwarming novel in this series. Very compelling as the macabre Mona takes a hard look at herself to determine whether or not she is genuinely cruel, or wants to be, and as the Problim children find that they have more in common with rivals and enemies than they might prefer. This might be my favorite installment so far! The one detractor is that there is no resolution at the end at all: it's a complete cliffhanger. Yet another fun and heartwarming novel in this series. Very compelling as the macabre Mona takes a hard look at herself to determine whether or not she is genuinely cruel, or wants to be, and as the Problim children find that they have more in common with rivals and enemies than they might prefer. This might be my favorite installment so far! The one detractor is that there is no resolution at the end at all: it's a complete cliffhanger.

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