HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Small Soldiers: The Gorgonites’ Quest
Author: Gavin Scott
Publisher: Dreamworks, 1998
Language level: 3
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 8-12
Rating: **** 4 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Scott, Gavin. Small Soldiers: The Gorgonites’ Quest (published in 1998 by Grosset and Dunlap Inc., a member of Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, New York City, NY). Thirteen year old Max, quiet and shy with no friends, lives with his mother in the city of Ironbridge along the Iron River. His dad had disappeared so many years ago that Max couldn’t even remember him. While exploring a small island in the river, the lad is surprised when an eyeball on three scaly legs falls into his lap. Ocula is one of six Gorgonites, plastic toys animated by “the Great Irwin” Wayfair and led by Archer. They had established a fortress on the island after surviving their confrontation with another group of animated toys, the Commando Elite Soldiers, led by Major Chip Hazard and programmed to destroy the Gorgonites.
Max is trying to find a way to keep the Ironbridge Fertilizer Company from bulldozing the hill behind his house for a parking lot, and the Gorgonites are searching for the Land of Gorgon where they can be free, so they decide to help each other. Then Chip and his Commandos show up and launch a surprise attack. Can Max enlist the assistance of his schoolmates Jimmy and Tracey? Will they be able to save the Gorgonites? And what happens to Max’s hill? This book is based on characters from Small Soldiers, a 1998 American science fiction film, directed by Joe Dante, which revolves around two adolescents who get caught in the middle of a war between two factions of sentient action figures, the Gorgonites and the Commando Elite. Author Gavin Scott also wrote Small Soldiers: Junior Novelization of the movie.
A novelist, broadcaster, and writer, Scott has provided scripts for numerous television mini-series, documentaries, short films, and full length movies in both England and the United States. The Gorgonites’ Quest is the unofficial sequel to Small Soldiers. The plot is quite imaginative, and it is a cute story. I would have given it five stars, but, unfortunately, in addition to a couple of common euphemisms (heck, darn), the “d” word is used twice. While I don’t like to read cursing in any literature, this kind of bad language is especially annoying and uncalled for in books marketed to preteens. Otherwise, it is funny, entertaining, and just plain delightful, and I really enjoyed reading it. Another book, Small Soldiers: Top-Secret Dossier, attributed to Irwin Wayfair, was also published in 1998.