Thursday, September 29, 2022

Happy Book Birthday, Bite the Bagel by Joel Ross!'s almost a book birthday. Today's read was released on the 27th, but I'm all about celebrating for as long as possible. And trust me, the characters in this series would agree with me (and probably take it 100 steps farther).

I did read the first book in this series...and I remember being very skeptical thanks to the 
guy in the bunny suit on the cover, but this pair won me over. So, I was more than happy to get my hands on book two and see what they were up to next.

Ready for some fun? Because that is exactly what this duo is about.

Alley & Rex, Book 2
by Joel Ross
Illustrated by Nicole Miles
Atheneum Books
Middle Grade Humor
160 pages 
ages 8 to 12

Loveable prankster Alley and bunny-suited brainiac Rex team up again, this time to help each other survive PE and save breakfast, one mutant bagel at a time in this hilarious story that’s perfect for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Wayside School!

Rex can rock a bunny suit like no one else. But his PE teacher insists that all students must wear gym clothes—or face a punishment worse than dodgeball. Alley vows to help his pal Rex. And to save the free breakfast cart that was closed due to budget cuts. Everyone knows that kids can’t learn on empty stomachs!

From a heist in the principal’s office to a bake sale featuring mutant bagels, Alley tries everything he can to bring back the food cart. And Rex tries everything he can to turn Alley’s bad choices into good solutions. They will stop at nothing in their quests for justice!



Packed with heart and wonderful intentions, this duo causes problems every where they go and has the reader wishing they could be right there with them to witness every situation.

Alley can't believe it—the breakfast cart is gone! The school is wrestling with tight funds, which means the morning free juice, cereal, and bagels for kids in need of a good breakfast has been chopped from existence. But Alley is determined to find a way to bring it back. Rex, of course, is at his side but has his own troubles to face thanks to the PE dress code, which does not allow for bunny suits. Both problems are going to be difficult to tackle, but together, they hope to find a way.

Alley and Rex are as different as different can be, and I'm not sure which one I like more...although Rex is quite a bit more tame if you can handle his bunny suit. Alley's good intentions shine on every page as he takes on every person's problem with 100% sincerity and determination. There's not an evil bone in his body, although there aren't many pranksters out there who could out-do him, thanks to his backward thinking. Still, it's impossible not to love him and cheer him on...more or less. Rex, on the other hand, is awesome with his high-level speech and thoughts. He adds the right amount of assistance Alley needs to create perfect balance and hilarious situations, which somewhat steer in the right direction. Simply said, these two are made for each other.

While laughs are guaranteed, there is tons of goodness wrapped in, too. Readers get a glimpse at the idea of budgets, fundraising, and working together for a goal (Alley's and Rex's classmates do get involved). The acceptance and friendship is inspiring as well as the idea of having each other's backs. Mix in the principal's amazing attitude, and it's a read with tons of warmth, too.

Reluctant readers will enjoy the quick read, which never leaves any wiggle room for boredom. Alley's ideas are always churning from one ridiculous situation to the next, ensuring a smooth glide. The text is short, and thanks to Rex, does offer some advanced vocabulary every now and then to strengthen reading skills, too. Add the illustrations, which pop in with extra emotion and humor, and it's a fun read from start to finish. 

And here they are...

Joel Ross is the author of The Fog Diver, Beast & Crown, and Alley & Rex series. He’s never worn a school uniform, but he did try a spoonful of calves’ foot jelly once. The taste lingers. Visit him at

Nicole Miles was born in the United States but grew up in the Bahamas where all schools have uniforms but nobody eats calves’ foot jelly (as far as she is aware). She feels this is a fair compromise. She now lives in the United Kingdom, and her tiny place on the internet is

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