Cheese is in the air, and the chants of “PB … PB … PB!” fill the room. There he appears, mysteriously dressed in a bee keeper’s mask and sunglasses. It is the world-renowned Pseudonymous Bosch, or PB for short! As he begins to talk of his travels as an adventurous author, we find out the secrets he has been holding back. Such as the secret behind the start of the Secret Series.
Have you ever wondered where the idea started or what inspired him to write the popular series? It turns out he was in elementary school when he wrote the first book. No, not enrolled in elementary school, but an adult volunteer. He participated in a pen pal program with a young student. Over time, Pseudonymous received stories and poems from his pen pal, and he felt bad that he wasn’t giving her anything in return. So, he decided to write a book chapter for her; however, he couldn’t figure out a title. He eventually realized he was writing a secret book and called it The Name of This Book Is Secret. He sent her the first chapter he wrote, but since the book was such a big secret, he had to censor the chapter to a series of XXXs. This, as you might imagine, was not the ideal first chapter of a book for his young pen pal. She wrote back admonishing him that he needed to write a real chapter. So he did, and she gave him helpful advice, or in Pseudonymous Bosch’s words, “very constructive criticism.” This continued, and before he realized it, he had almost written a novel. He had it published and dedicated it to his writing partner, May (aka WP May).
The event continued with Pseudonymous Bosch cracking hilarious jokes and everybody laughing, even the parents. During the Q and A session, I learned that through a pen name, you can be someone completely different. It must be frustrating at times for PB to have to seal away his identity; however, he does it well and has countless fans to show for it. So, kudos to you, Pseudonymous Bosch! We enjoy being entertained by you!
~Maya S., 8th Grade
Whenever you are reading a book, do you think of a song that represents the mood? Then later, when you hear that song, does it evoke memories from that segment of the story? I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
As the third book of this secretive series begins, the narrator puts a twist of his own likings in the book about chocolate tasting. The three heroes, Max-Ernest, Cassandra (Cass for short), and YoYoji, wander into a zoo suspected to be run by the Midnight Sun and meet a master chocolate chef who was really working for the Midnight Sun. Then they escape with an unusual person with them, Cass’s mother. (She had been captured by the Midnight Sun earlier in the story.) Like all of the others in this series, this book was fantastic.
One part of the story was significant to me. That part was when Cass, Max-Ernest and YoYoji freed the orphans from the Midnight Sun. Then a song popped up in my head… Born Free! This song perfectly sets the mood as the children run everywhere in the movie. I would summarize this book as a tasteful adventure, literally! This book was about tasting and the sense of the mouth, and it was an adventure, not to mention a great adventure between three heroine/heroes, Max-Ernest, YoYoji, and Cass.
At the end of the 10 out of 10 movie, I picture the song “Doesn’t Anybody Stay Together Anymore” by Phil Collins. I envision the credits rolling by with that last scene of Cass and her Mother hugging yet Cass’s friends are in the distance.
See my reviews of the first two books in this series here and here, and don’t forget to comment and share the music you hear below!
-Maya S., 6th grade
The truth is. . . if you are reading this, it is too late! Now members of an unknown society in an unknown neighborhood in an unknown town, Cass and Max-Ernest’s adventure is all about the gift of sound and Cass’s oddly shaped ears. The first book in this series, The Name of This Book is Secret, is about smells, hence The Symphony of Smells. If this wonderful series of books by Pseudonymous Bosch was made into a film, this story’s beginning should start with the song ‘Secret Garden’ by Bruce Springsteen. After the first chorus of “Secret Garden,” it should fade away to the opening scene of Cass’s dream.
The story starts out with Cassandra experiencing a bad dream. She has a field trip to the tide pools, and Cass and Max-Ernest are supposed to meet Pietro, but some kids get in the way. They finally see a ship with a familiar man staring back at them. At this point in this story’s movie, “Message In a Bottle” by The Police reflects the panic the characters feel at that moment. Oh no! It is the Midnight Sun (a group of evil alchemists who are the antagonists). The crew assures them it is not really the Midnight Sun and everything is fine until they begin hearing familiar voices… Cass and Max-Ernest are once again in the Midnight Sun’s grasp.
This story engaged me from the beginning. There were many times I was expecting something to occur when just the opposite did. As was the case with the first book, I would recommend this hard-to-put-down novel for all ages. In the movie version, “Fooling Yourself” by Styx should close the film. This song shows how many times Max-Ernest and Cass made mistakes and put themselves in harm’s way but always using cleverness to overcome obstacles.
-Maya S., 6th grade
‘WARNING: DO NOT READ BEYOND THIS PAGE!’ is how the fantastic, yet mystifying book, The Name of This Book is Secret begins. Secrets, secrets everywhere! So scary and dangerous, Mr. Bosch leads the reader through a world unknown to the average population, but just into the peculiar world where long-since magicians and alchemists reside. When the main characters find a strange box labeled ‘The Symphony of Smells’, they are led into a trap with immortality and cruelty.
Max-Ernest, a boy wanting to be a stand-up comedian, and Cassandra (Cass for short), a very serious and vigilant survivalist, come together on a rollercoaster of an adventure throughout this well-written book. There are a lot of unanswered questions that the peculiar narrator, Pseudonymous Bosch, poses such as what Max-Ernest’s ‘condition’ is, or who Cass’s father is. At this point in the story, if it were a motion picture, I envision the song “Come Together” by the Beatles, because I believe it shows perfectly how Cass and Max-Ernest meet and come together to begin their adventure. Situational irony is inserted in odd parts of the story, The Name of this Book is Secret, which makes it one of my top five favorite book series and earns this an 11 out of 10 rating!
I would definitely recommend this book for ages 10-100, because the writing style makes the mystery impossible to put down.
-Maya S., 6th grade