Banneker Bones and the Alligator People, by Rob Kent

Banneker Bones and the Alligator People, by Rob Kent (Create Space, May 2019) brings 11-year-old cousins Banneker and Ellicott back for a second action packed adventure!  No sooner had they foiled an evil plot involving giant robot bees, as told in their first book  (my review), then they are caught up in an even eviler one.   

When they set off flying on their jet packs that night (Banneker is a mad inventor extraordinaire), little did they know they end up following an alligator person into the city sewer!  It didn't go well, but worst of all, no one believes they were attacked by an alligator person.   Possibly this is because Banneker, never one to pass up a chance for the spotlight, proclaims on tv that "This is the start of the alligator people apocalypse!" 

It's actually not, though the alligator people are indeed real, and they are indeed unhappy with the non-alligator people.  The real villain of the piece is an incredibly wealth and powerful man who puts getting even more wealth and more powerful ahead of anything else, including his family.  Banneker might have a nice arsenal of technology and cool gadgets, but the villain has an army of robots and an even greater arsenal.  Banneker, though, has a brain, and he has Ellicott, who provides additional brain power, and a rational balance to Banneker's excess (possibly it's more accurate to say that Ellicott, the real hero of the series, has Banneker as a sort of incredibly powerful loose cannon).  

The book reads as a sort of celebration of the wild fictions of the National Enquirer, mixed with the feel of vintage action and adventure comics.  Lots of kapows!  Lots of robots and jet packs and fabulous wealth.  Lots of "alligator people amongst us."  And kids who love page turning excitement will find plenty here to keep the pages turning.

As well as the obvious (it didn't need to be belabored to be right there in the story) "family is actually more important than wealth" and "there are lines that shouldn't be crossed when pursuing wealth and power"  messages, there's also a more weighty side the story, though, about the ethics of genetic manipulation, and about the rights of non-human persons).  And in the midst of their adventures, Banneker, seen from the outside, and Ellicott, whose point of view the reader shares,  come alive to the reader as interesting characters.

So all this to say that Rob Kent seems to me to have done a really good job of writing the sort of story he wanted to write, and I can imaging lots of readers loving it!  That being said, it isn't actually my personal favorite type of book (I enjoy books in which people stay quietly at home, indulging in simple, domestic pastimes--weeding the garden, going shopping in the village, bantering with clever siblings, perhaps an exciting walk up the hill,, etc.) And this is most emphatically not that sort of book, which, depending on your own taste, either adds appeal or does not.

(for those looking for diverse characters, Bannecker's biracial-- his mom is black, his dad white).  He also has a slew of non-neurotypical characteristics, that don't define him but are part of his being who is). 

(for those leery of self-published books because of bad experiences reading poorly edited prose--there is no need for any worry in that regard!  I am easily annoyed by mistakes (my own included) and was not troubled once during my reading!)

disclaimer: review copy received from the author, who I've known through his blog, Middle Grade Ninja, for years and years.


  1. This doesn't sound like a book I would like, but it's good to know about. Thanks for your very thorough review.

  2. Fantastic job done. I just loved your work here. Lovely. I visited your blog for the first time.
    Very big list.
    Not completed reading all but done with few. Really mind blowing qoutes.
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