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Balthazar Fabuloso in the Lair of the Humbugs
by I.J. Brindle
Sholto Walker, Illustrator

Trade Binding | 240 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/4 | US$ 16.95
ISBN: 9780823435777 | 03-31-2016

Also available as an ebook.

Grade: FIFTH | Age: 8 to 12

Themes: Family & Relationships, Humor, Coming of Age
Recommendations: A, SLJ

CCSS Codes:
RL.5.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10
L.5.3, 3b, 4, 4a, 5, 5a, 5b, 5c, 6
RF.5.3, 4, 4a, 4c
SL.5.1, 2, 4, 5, 6
W.5.4, 9, 9a, 10

About the Book

Magic, humor and high adventure are used to reaffirm fundamental family values in this debut novel.

Balthazar Fabuloso's lovable and eccentric family performs a magic show. What makes the act so unusual is that all the Fabulosos actually have superhuman powers, except for Balthazar, a practical-minded 11-year-old who simply aspires to be a normal kid. So when everyone but Balthazar disappears mid performance, the only Fabuloso without real magical skills must save the family. Balthazar wonders if the family's archrivals, the Furious Fistulas, are to blame or if there are other, even darker forces at work. To free his loved ones Balthazar must work with some questionable characters, including a lunatic long-lost uncle, three enigmatic senior citizens and the loathsome Pagan Fistula, whose family also mysteriously goes missing.

At the center of these disappearances is a force so evil that the world's most preeminent magicians cower before it. What hope could a ragtag crew of misfits have against it?


"Brindle's debut is a fast-paced hoot.—Booklist

"A fast-moving fantasy adventure, eccentric characters, and a mystery to solve add up to an intriguing and enjoyable story."—School Library Journal

Classroom Discussion Questions with CCSS:

1. How does the author use foreshadowing in the story? Discuss how the structure and style of the book enhance meaning and tone. RL.4-5.5/SL.4-5.1

2. How does author I.J. Brindle create suspense and humor in Balthazar Fabuloso in the Lair of the Humbugs? RL.4-5.1, 4

3. Find examples of literary devices used by I.J. Brindle to create humor and depth in the story, including alliteration, metaphor, personification, simile, hyperbole and onomatopoeia. RL.4-5.4/L.4-5.5

4. Characters in the story have been referred to as the “lunatic uncle,” “enigmatic senior citizen” and “loathsome Pagan Fistula.” Using evidence from the story, explain these descriptions, including the characters’ thoughts, feelings and actions. RL.4-5.3, 4