From the creator of the bestselling series The Last Kids on Earth, this hilarious middle grade adventure follows a young boy thrust into the world of selling hot dogs in space!
Over the course of one very strange night, Cosmoe went from being an adventure-seeking, thirteen-year-old Earthling orphan to a hot-dog-slinging space traveler. He has all the adventure he once craved and more aboard the Neon Wiener—part spaceship, part food truck—selling their trademark “Galactic Hot Dogs.”
Cosmoe and the rest of the crew journey to food competitions across the universe serving up the wildly popular wieners…until they gain a troublesome stowaway. The half-evil, half-awesome Princess Dagger doesn’t plan on going anywhere, and her presence on the ship means her all-evil mother is gunning for the Neon Wiener.
Cosmoe rallies his friends to fight space jerks in all their many forms and vows to protect the princess. But can a group of hot dog enthusiasts face down an evil space queen?
Strap into the Neon Wiener intragalactic food truck and get ready for a wild ride with Cosmoe the Earth-Boy and his sidekick, Big Humphree, on a series of adventures through outer space! The excitement starts when Princess Dagger, daughter of the Evil Queen, kidnaps herself onto the Neon Wiener, leading to a showdown with some wicked-fast fighter ships. Next up, the crew must hunt down and defeat the “Ultimate Evil,” and also sell some snacks along the way. The hybrid graphic novel format packs action into every page, with speech bubbles and humorous asides adding to the fun of Cosmoe’s first-person narrative. Readers will happily dive into this zany tale of friendship, courage, . . . and giant hot dogs.
1. Describe Cosmoe in terms of appearance and personality. Give examples of his strengths and weaknesses. What role does Goober play in Cosmoe’s exploits? Discuss whether you think Cosmoe is a hero.
2. Use the stats graph in Chapter 1 to talk about Humphree, his background, and his personality. Do you agree with the analysis of his traits on the graph, including sense of humor, awesomeness, and so on?
3. Describe the relationship between Cosmoe and Humphree. When do they agree with each other? When do they disagree? Give examples of scenes in the book where Humphree helps Cosmoe, and others where Cosmoe helps Humphree.
4. The Evil Queen insists that her daughter, Princess Dagger, is evil. Cosmoe disagrees. Describe the princess and some of her actions, discussing whether you think she’s evil. Give examples of how she may or may not change over the course of the story. In what ways do Cosmoe and Humphree help her reveal her true nature?
5. Cosmoe says, “Our duo has become a trio” at the end of Chapter 5. What does he mean, and why does he say it then? Find a scene where the three characters work together, and describe what each of them contribute.
6. How important are villains to the plot? Describe Queen Dagger, her actions, and how you know she’s evil. Discuss General Krax Von Grumble and what he does to Cosmoe and Cosmoe’s friends. Are they effective villains? Why or why not?
7. Pictures supply a lot of the action and setting for the story. Take a close look at the first ten pages, and describe what you learn only from the pictures that aren’t in the text. What do the pictures add besides information?
8. In most novels, the print is the same size throughout the book, except for chapter titles and headings. In this book, the print varies in what kind and size of font is used. At times the print is in all capital letters. Some of the text is in speech bubbles. Analyze the impact of these design choices and what they add to the story. How different would it be if the print size and font were the same throughout?
Buy ’em Here!
Have children imagine their own intragalactic food truck and create a poster to advertise it. They need to decide what kind of food they would sell and what they would name it. The poster should show their food truck, which might reflect the food itself, and include a menu. The text should include words and slogans that would attract customers.
And Then What?
In the last chapter, Princess Dagger suggests they start on a new adventure. Cosmoe responds, “Let’s find us some trouble.” Working in small groups, have children brainstorm the next adventure, including a new villain. Once they have decided on an idea, the kids should write a short narrative giving a plot summary of the next adventure.
Guide written by Kathleen Odean, a former school librarian and Chair of the 2002 Newbery Award Committee. She gives professional development workshops on books for young people and is the author of Great Books for Girls and Great Books about Things Kids Love.
This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.
Max Brallier is the New York Times, USA TODAY, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of more than thirty books for children and adults. His books and series include The Last Kids on Earth, Eerie Elementary, Mister Shivers, Galactic Hot Dogs, and Can YOU Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? Max lives in New York City with his wife and daughter. Follow Max on Twitter @MaxBrallier or visit him at MaxBrallier.com.
Nichole Kelley does not like to define herself as any specific kind of artist. In the past she has worked professionally as an animator, illustrator, and designer. This combination has allowed her to work on a variety of awesome projects, including web animation, casual games, console games, board games, and children’s illustration. In her free time, she enjoys video games, board games, toys, crafting of all sorts, and sleeping. Her latest venture is learning how to make glass beads and marbles.