Who Shrunk Daniel Funk?First off, the legalese: yes, the main character of this series and I share a common cognomen. I still believe the following review to be fairly objective and objectively fair. Having cleared that up, let me say, that Lin Oliver’s 11-year-old Daniel Funk is a pretty accurate depiction of a California boy living in a house with 6 females and no other males (at least, so he thinks). Daniel’s father went missing years ago, but he still lives in a house with his mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and three sisters (two older, one younger). Without giving too much away (as if it wasn’t clear from the title of the series), Daniel quickly discovers he has the ability to shrink to the size of the fourth toe on his foot. And he’s not alone…

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It turns out that his family appears to have a history of shrinking dating back to his ancestry in the old country. With Great-Granny Nanny’s help (and another mysterious friend), Daniel discovers he can also grow back to full size and gain some control over his shrinking ability.

The stories are told from a very honest, first-person perspectiv with a very relaxed tone. Daniel is a humorous character in a believable, but comic situation (11-year-old boy living with six females). Most of the stories involve pranking his sister(s), obnoxious kids at school (see Vince the Pizza Prince), and living the life of your average (possibly slightly hipper than average) California middle-grade boy. A middle-grade boy that can shrink.

The book’s are littered with humor (beginning with a prologue written by someone who doesn’t even know what a prologue is). The five and under crowd will love references to stinky sock mountain, underpants valley, and all the belching (who am I kidding, that was my favorite part, too). Each character has their own unique foible – the oldest sister is always spouting lame poetry and constantly live video-blogging her life, his other older sister and her ‘too cool for you’ friends, the hippie grandma, and more. New phrases galore (“Do your thing, chicken-wing”), Daniel going off on non-sequiturs to the reading audience, and illustrator Stephen Gilpin’s perfectly tuned comic illustrations.

That’s not to mention the clever trivia at the beginning of each chapter. Each chapter begins with “The Funkster’s Funk Fact” that seemingly has nothing to do with the plot, but does give a tiny hint about something that may occur in the following sequence of pages. For example, if the FFF states: “American’s eat 350 slices of pizza per second”, you might expect the chapter to contain some pizza, or Americans … or both. (See book 1, Attack of the Growling Eyeballs, Chapter 1).

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Although the fourth book ended with some resolutions, some things are still never explained (I won’t say which). I’m holding out hope for another (and another another) book in the series, despite the fact that all four books were published between 2008 and 2010 (I may be out of luck). If this is the end of Daniel’s story, however, I would like to thank Oliver for her entertaining series that was crowd-pleasing for the whole family!

…And if you happen to ever meet Daniel Funk, just give him a slice of pizza and see what happens next…

Who Shrunk Daniel Funk? Book List

  1. Attack of the Growling Eyeballs
  2. Escape of the Mini-Mummy
  3. Revenge of the Itty-Bitty Brothers
  4. Secret of the Super-Small Superstar

Book Information:

  • Reading Level: Grade 3-6
  • Interest: Age 7-12
  • Pages: ~150 pages each
  • Pictures: one or two per chapter
  • Main Characters: 11-year old Daniel Funk (and his six female house-guests)
  • Genre: Humor, Fantasy (a slight bit), Fiction

 

Borrow. Read. Return. Repeat.