Joel-Brock Lollis's family has vanished into the labyrinthine Sporangium below a curious Georgia emporium, Big Box Bonanzas. Glimpses of an older J-B Lollis of the Atlanta Braves on a BBB television suggest that Joel-Brock may never get back his parents and sister. The Valorous Smalls—almost-ten Joel-Brock, lively teen Addi, and tiny detective Valona—forge their way into the mushroom realm to change that possible future.
"Young readers who enjoy quests with marvels in the kingdom of the weird—mushroom warriors! mazes! time games! giant slugs!—will find much to interest, amuse, and surprise them in Michael Bishop's unusual fantasy, Joel-Brock the Brave and the Valorous Smalls, well and profusely illustrated in pen-and-ink by Orion Zangara."
—Marly Youmans, author of Glimmerglass
"Michael Bishop’s Joel-Brock and the Valorous Smalls is a riveting read. It’s the story of baseball-loving nine-year-old Joel-Brock, whose parents have been kidnapped by mysterious minions of an underground world. Into this dark and creepy place the boy must venture with two friends, a sawed-off store detective and a sassy fourteen-year-old runaway girl, to confront mysteries and monsters and—mushroom people. The three are small, but valorous—and they’ll need all their courage to rescue Joel-Brock’s family . . . if they can! Humor, fantasy, and adventure blend perfectly in this exciting book. Come and join Joel-Brock’s thrilling quest!"
—Brad Strickland, author of The Drum, the Doll, and the Zombie
“Michael Bishop’s Joel-Brock the Brave and the Valorous Smalls reminds me why I became a reader in the first place. A deeply imaginative and exciting tour of a weird world on just the other side of the ordinary.”
—James Van Pelt, author of Pandora’s Gun
"Michael Bishop, one of science fiction and fantasy's most accomplished authors, hasn't lost a step. In Joel-Brock the Brave and the Valorous Smalls, his first book for young readers, Bishop has written a rollicking adventure story in which Joel-Brock and his diminutive companions, on a quest to find his mother, journey beneath a big box store to discover a spectacular subterranean world. Gobbymawlers and snotfeet, baseball and heaps of Southern charm—not to mention a sharp political bite—all come together to produce the most enjoyable young adult adventure I've read in some time. With beautiful illustrations by Orion Zangara, this is a treasure for the book shelf."
—Nathan Ballingrud, author of North American Lake Monsters
“What a scary joy . . . full of frights and friends, and sports, full of pathos and lonesomeness and hard choices.”
—Jane Yolen, author of The Devil’s Arithmetic
"Joel-Brock the Brave and the Valorous Smalls tells the tale of an exciting adventure set in Georgia. Nine-year-old Joel-Brock Lollis dreams of nothing more than becoming a home run hitter for the Atlanta Braves, until one day his family disappears, leaving him scared, hungry, and determined...The characters are highly entertaining and quirky. The writing paints a lavish world of vivid imagination. One highlight is the beautifully rendered pen-and-ink illustrations by Orion Zangara. These black-and-white drawings add whimsy to the narrative...Overall, Joel-Brock the Brave and the Valorous Smalls is creative quirky with appeal for fans of similar novels."