Review: Cool Zone

cool-zoneBook: Cool Zone with the Pain and the Great One (2008)
Author: Judy Blume
Genre: Lower MG, Contemporary
Rating: 4 Stars

Basic Plot: This is another story starring the Pain (younger brother Jake) and the Great One (older sister Abigail). Told in alternating chapters, we get their differing points of view. There’s a whole lot of sibling rivalry, but also a bunch of sibling-love at the heart of each story.


1) I love the sibling rivalry, but I’m glad that there’s more to it than that. Even if the kids don’t quite admit it, they love each other. 🙂

2) I don’t mind the episodic nature of this book. Not many books get published nowadays that are basically a collection of short stories. Judy Blume does a great job with this one. Each story is self-contained and fun.

3) Judy Blume’s characterization of the kids is perfect. Reminds me of her Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing series. I love how she starts out each of these books with how the Pain thinks their parents prefer the Great One, and the Great One thinks the Pain gets all the breaks in their family. Isn’t that how it always is?

4) This book is a quick read. I think my favourite story was the one about the lost tooth. (I could feel Abigail’s frustration!)


1) The only thing I didn’t really like was that the Pain (Jake) calls his teacher “Mary”. Every other teacher in the book is called Mr./Ms. This is just a personal preference of mine. In fact, I ended up just substituting Ms. Mary in my mind every time I saw her name in the book.


My rating is 4 Stars (out of 5) – I enjoyed this book. Not sure whose POV I liked better. The POV of the Pain? Or that of the Great One? 🙂


Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

14 thoughts on “Review: Cool Zone

    • From what I can tell, the original was a picture book (The Pain and the Great One) published in the 1970s. It looks like she may have resurrected the characters in the 2000s for this series. If you like the Fudge books, you will probably like these as well!


    • Judy Blume has a way with capturing characters that make her books still readable years later. This series is fairly recent from what I can tell (from the 2008 or so). But the original Pain and the Great One was written back in 1974.


  1. I read Judy Blume books with my kids. Very well written. As an adult who grew up in NJ near Elizabeth, NJ I read her adult novel about a true story of a plane , leaving out of Newark Airport, crashed into the river there. The title is “In The Unlikely Event” and is an excellent book. Another reason I like Judy Blume is that my maiden name is Blume and I’m also a Jersey girl 😉 Thanks for your reviews !

    Liked by 1 person

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