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Cover image for The Prizewinners of Piedmont Place
The Prizewinners of Piedmont Place


First edition.
New York : Random House, [2016]
Physical Description:
185 pages ; 22 cm
Number in series:
"Eleven-year-old Cal must convince his lovably wacky family to compete in a contest where the winners are granted twenty minutes to grab anythingfrom King Wonder's world-famous shop"-- Provided by publisher.
Added Author:


Call Number
J Doyle, B.

On Order



One lucky family is about to win big! The prize? Twenty minutes to grab anything-and maybe even everything-in the world-famous Wish Shoppe. Cal Talaska knows his family was born to win. But before he can prove it, he needs to convince his family to compete. You've gotta be in it to win it, right? That means Cal needs to focus on what they want.
Dad wants a new piano . . . no, a whole orchestra! Mom has her eye on a new home gym...which might be hard to grab! His little sister Imo needs tools to build a spaceship. And baby brother Bug? He just wants candy! (To share with the beloved family dog, of course!) But what about Cal? He just wants to win . . . or maybe he has something to prove? There's only one way to find out. Let the contest begin!
This hilarious new series features a loveable family, high stakes, and hijinks.

Author Notes

Bill Doyle grew up in Michigan and wrote his first story-a funny whodunit-when he was eight. Since then, he's written other action-packed books for kids, like Attack of the Shark-Headed Zombie , Stampede of the Supermarket Slugs , Everest- You Decide How to Survive , the Crime Through Time series, and the Behind Enemy Lines series. He lives in New York City with two winning wiener dogs. Visit him online at billdoylebooks.com.

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6-One lucky family have a chance to win everything they can carry from King Wonder's Wish Shoppe. Cal Talaska knows in his heart that his parents and siblings have what it takes to win the contest, but he has to convince them to participate first. They finally agree, albeit reluctantly, and qualify as finalists in the competition. Their stiffest competition comes from the Wylots, the family in town who have everything; Mr. Wylot is Cal's father's boss. When it becomes evident that the Wylots are willing to stop at nothing to demonstrate that they're the best, Cal and his extremely clever family must come together to prove them wrong. In this first installment of a new series, Doyle introduces readers to a charming (but quirky) family in the Talaskas, and readers cannot help but root for them to win. VERDICT Despite a familiar plot, readers will enjoy the hilarious adventures of the Talaskas and will surely look forward to the next installment.-Wayne R. Cherry Jr., First Baptist Academy Library, Houston © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this fun series opener from Doyle (Attack of the Shark-Headed Zombie), fifth-grader Cal Talaska is determined to win the Wish Shoppe Great Grab contest, a multifamily competition involving puzzle solving, physical feats, and more. Winners get to keep anything they can grab from the megastore's shelves in 20 minutes, and Cal believes that coming out on top will earn his quirky, financially shaky family the respect it deserves. The Talaskas, however, are not interested in participating, especially since Cal's father's boss, Mr. Wylot, is determined to win the contest by any means necessary. Cal's classmate Leslie Wylot isn't helping matters, either. "It's not personal," she tells Cal. "People just have to know their place in life, that's all. There are the winners and there are the losers." As the Wylots leverage their power and employ devious methods to control the contest, Cal and his family rely on their wits and courage to stand up for themselves and salvage their chance to win. Cal's fortitude in the face of adversity may inspire readers to do the same. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8-12. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

In this self-consciously wacky series-starter, eleven-year-old Cal Talaska's quirky family competes to win the "Great Grab Contest" at a superstore. The evil, rich rival family feels stereotypical, but the financially struggling Talaska family (illustrated as mixed-race) is well developed and worth rooting for. Some of the jokes are belabored, but this is light and easy reading; Jack's black-and-white cartoons add appeal. (c) Copyright 2017. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Eleven-year-old Cal resorts to extreme measures to rope his reluctant family into taking a chance to win a shopping spree in the local megastore.Strong family ties and social-class contrasts lie at the center of this sitcom-style farce. Eyes firmly fixed on a video-game system that is well beyond his struggling family's reach, Cal Talaska responds to the contest announcement with a series of stratagems that turn his close but initially indifferent clan into a motivated team. The Talaskas need all the moxie they can summon. Their main rivals as the contest goes through multiple tricky elimination rounds turn out to be the Wylotsarrogant, upper-crust owners of the factory where Mr. Talaska is employed as an accountantand they're not at all shy about playing mind games, uttering thinly veiled threats, or out-and-out cheating. Doyle leans hard on the moral divide by thoroughly demonizing the Wylots while casting the Talaskas as a caring, mutually supportive family that laughs as heartily as it pulls together. He does rather overplay the feel-good ending, but their win is well-deserved. In quickly sketched ink-and-wash illustrations, Jack portrays them as biracial (Mr. Talaska is the darker parent), though their diverse skin tones on the full-color cover even out in the interior images. The hero is really the entire family in this somewhat labored but cockle-warming series kickoff. (Fiction. 10-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

The Wish Shoppe part WalMart, part Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory is set to open soon, and one family will win a shopping spree. Cal Talaska knows his family is destined to win, but his mom thinks the contest is silly, and his dad does not want to compete against his boss, Mr. Wylot. Cal tricks them into entering but must now convince them to continue against the stiff competition the Rivales wear matching outfits and move like clockwork, the Wylots practically own the town. The characters are larger than life. Cal's sister, Imo, is a budding space scientist, while baby brother Bug doesn't talk except to bark with the dog, and Mrs. Talaska collects trivia and punctuates her speech with cheese references (What the provolone is going on?). The breakneck pace, outlandish characters, and implausible plot create a funny, light story. The illustrations portray Cal's family as indistinctly multiracial, providing needed diversity undertones to the genre of not-quite-realistic fiction. Hand this to fans of Nickelodeon shows looking for a change of medium.--Harold, Suzanne Copyright 2016 Booklist