The Unflushables starts with a potty joke and finishes with a flush of heroism from Sully Stringellow, a middle schooler who must save the day in Nitro City, a town where the drains are getting backed up and overflowing with mutant creatures just as the 50th Annual Burrito Festival is about to take place. Fans of Captain Underpants, brace yourselves!
Young reader/listeners should note the author’s prowess with similes: “He watches me like a cat watches a caged bird; his eyes bulge out like snowglobes; I’m caught like a mouse in a trap; an eel with fangs the size of picket fences; the hatch bursts open like a big metal pimple on a forehead.” In another ode to wordplay is Sully’s mother, who sells spatulas. She makes a hat with one and calls it a hatula, and the author cracks jokes about a “chatula” and “this and thatula.”
Thankfully, there are no sounds of a toilet flushing or bodily functions to accompany the narration by Adam McArthur, who does a good job of introducing different voices, from Joe the Plumber to classmates Izzy, Norman and April, to Sully’s parents who are phoning in from in Fiji throughout most of the story.
In the end, what prevails over the evil company ruling the town’s plumbing system is a quick-thinking teen with loyal friends, family and a sense of civic duty.
Ann Oldenburg ©2018 Parents’ Choice
Ann Oldenburg, lecturer and interim director of the journalism program at Georgetown University, writes about television, food, workplace issues and other pop culture topics. A University of Florida Gator with a degree in journalism, she began her career at The Washington Post and spent more than two decades with USA TODAY. She and her husband have three sons and live in McLean, Virginia.