Reluctant readers rejoice, I have the perfect book to answer your most pressing reading wonderlandquestion:

“Do you know of a book with short chapters? My mom forces me to read one chapter each night.”

Here it is in no less than 65 chapters. Even those of us who like to read will enjoy the story of P.T. (named after P.T. Barnum). He’s short in stature but his long tales get him out of many tight spots. He lives with his mother and grandfather at the world’s wackiest motel in St. Petersburg, Florida. It’s a great place to live, but in recent years the motel has come under too much competition and investors are looking to flatten it and build condos.

I spent many spring breaks as a kid in nearby Clearwater visiting my grandmother. I can attest to the strange attractions pulling in tourists. The Wonderland Motel (formerly Walt Wilkie’s Wonder World) is exactly the change of pace vacationers look for. At least until Walt Disney decided otherwise.

P.T. and his new friend, Gloria, try to find ways to raise the $100,000 to keep the place open. Bad guys with a past history to the motel return to interrupt their money making scheme. It is fast paced, funny, and the setting is perfect. Illustrations scattered throughout support the wackiness.

I’m looking forward to warmer weather and the chance to dive into Book 2-Beach Party Surf Monkey–to be released in May, 2017.


FULL PLOT (From AMAZON)  Eleven-year-old P. T. Wilkie may be the greatest storyteller alive. But he knows one thing for a fact: the Wonderland Motel is the best place a kid could ever live! All-you-can-eat poolside ice cream! A snack machine in the living room! A frog slide! A giant rampaging alligator! (Okay, that last one may or may not be made up.) There’s only one thing the Wonderland doesn’t have, though—customers. And if the Wonderland doesn’t get them soon, P.T. and his friend Gloria may have to say goodbye to their beloved motel forever.

They need to think BIG. They need to think BOLD. They need an OUTRAGEOUS plan. Luckily for them, Gloria is a business GENIUS, and OUTRAGEOUS is practically P.T.’s middle name. With Gloria’s smarts and P.T.’s world-famous stories and schemes, there’s got to be a way to save the Wonderland!


  1. The extras in the back of the book will keep readers amused until the next book. P.T. WILKIES OUTRAGEOUSLY RIDICULOUS AND OCCASIONAL USEFUL STUFF is where you will find how to say, “Help! The toilet is clogged!” in over twenty languages, and a recipe for Frozen Green Pond Scum Punch.
  2. Teachers also love these type of books because they can fill the five minutes before class changes with a fun chapter or two.
  3. The humor comes from P.T.’s wild made up tales he uses both in school and at home to keep himself out of trouble. Most of them actually work.
  4. His mom and grandfather are there for P.T. and seem to understand his unusual ways. I’m looking forward to see how they deal with P.T. in the next book. There’s also a dad who disappeared a long time ago who will probably surface in a future installment.
  5. After reading a half dozen emotional wrenching titles–boy, did I ever need this breath of fresh air.


One thing’s for sure: The Wonderland Motel is the best place a kid could ever live.

There’s daily maid service. My toilet is sanitized for my protection.

We have more ice than Antarctica, plus free cable and HBO. Also, if you know how to bump the glass just right, you can score two bags of chips every time you buy one from the vending machine.

FROM Mr. Grabenstein’s WEBSITE:
Chris started writing a long time ago. He and his four brothers used to put on skits and puppet shows in the basement of their home in Buffalo, New York. Their mom and dad were the only paying customers. Admission was a nickel.

When he was ten, Chris moved to Signal Mountain Tennessee and had some great teachers in Junior High School and at Chattanooga’s Notre Dame High School who told him he would “make a living as a writer one day.”


It’s Black History Month and to honor the occasion, I have two books to share later this week and a giveaway. First up on Wednesday is the cover reveal for Bibi Belford’s new historical novel set to debut this spring–CROSSING THE LINE.

On Friday I have a review of SHACKLES FROM THE DEEP, a non-fiction account of the slave ships from the 17th century.

Stop by and you might win both titles!


Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Click on the comments link below.

Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.


About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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11 Responses to WELCOME TO THE WONDERLAND–HOME SWEET MOTEL for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

  1. allenbookclub says:

    Super excited for the cover reveal!

  2. This sounds fun as well as good for reluctant readers. I may have to check it out for my nephew.

  3. Susan says:

    This would be a fun one to read after watching the tv show, Hotel Hell, which my family likes to watch on occasion. I’m glad you were able to lighten your mood with this one, Greg!

  4. This sounds hilarious! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Living in a motel would appeal to any kid, especially with snack machines! Isn’t it nice to read something light and funny once in a while?

  6. That is one great cover. Made me chuckle. Such an appealing book for kids with big imaginations! It does sound like a great book to give a reluctant reader. Great choice!

  7. Gee, this one sounds really fun. I think I will have to pick it up. Thanks for the review.

  8. This book sounds great! Thanks for the review!

  9. This sounds really good. I think our boys would like it a lot. Did you really grow up in Florida?

    • No, just visited Clearwater a lot as a kid, which is just a stone’s throw away from St. Petersburg, the setting for Wonderland. I’m sure your boys would enjoy the story. I know I did. Thanks for stopping by.

  10. Pingback: WELCOME TO THE WONDERLAND–Beach Party Surf Monkey for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday | Always in the Middle…

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