Notebook of Doom: Rise of the Balloon Goons

Notebook of Doom: Rise of the Balloon Goons

By Troy Cummings


Cummings, T. 2013. Notebook of doom: Rise of the balloon goons.  NY: Scholastic Press.


Alex Bopp is new to town and understandably, he’s a bit nervous about being the new kid at school. What he doesn’t expect is all of the weird things he encounters in Stermont. Balloon goons are rampant on the street, those rubbery flappy guys with their big goofy faces. Alexander finds a notebook filled with drawings of monsters. Flat tires seem to be everywhere. Then, the school isn’t even where it says it is on the map! And when he gets to class, he’s given a horrible nickname by the teacher. Alexander finds himself trying to face his greatest fears all in the span of a few days.

Quantitative Summary:

Lexile: AD 490L

ATOS Book Level:             3.3

Interest Level:   Lower Grades (LG K-3)

Qualitative Summary:

A compact chapter book brimming with doodles and illustrations that enforce the “notebook” aesthetic. The illustrations are very dominant in this book, making it a good bridge from picture books into chapter books, lending confidence to less experienced readers. The monster notebook is represented by doodles and graph paper inserted into the narrative. The narrative structure follows one character on a simple chronology of a few days, making it low complexity. The language and sentence structure is simple and straightforward,appealing to less confident readers.

Curriculum Ties

Good for new students, and for facing fears. The “monster notebook” provides a good format for students to document their own kinds of monsters, learning how to describe animals and creatures by physical characteristics and their environment.



State Curriculum

English/Language Arts

1.0   General Reading Processes: Comprehension: Students will use a variety of strategies to understand what they read (construct meaning).


1. Develop comprehension skills through exposure to a variety of print and nonprint texts, including traditional print and electronic texts

a. Listen to critically, read, and discuss texts representing diversity in content, culture, authorship, and perspective, including areas such as race, gender, disability, religion, and socioeconomic background

b. *Read a minimum of 25 self-selected and/or assigned books or book equivalents representing various genres

c. Discuss reactions to and ideas/information gained from reading experiences with adults and peers in

both formal and informal situations


3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text: Students will read, comprehend, interpret, analyze, and evaluate literary text.

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