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thomas schwendler
Baggie's Big Adventure

Middle Grade; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Market)

It’s every bag’s dream to see the world. And it’s every travelers’ worst nightmare to lose their luggage. Sometimes you just need to ‘carry on’ which is exactly what Baggie does as ‘unclaimed baggage.’ Based on what really happens to lost airline luggage, this original story of an enchanted carpet bag prepares young travelers for an airport experience while packing a few puns for any adult reader to enjoy. If traveling is your bag, this story is for you!
An adventure-loving, vintage handbag goes for the ride of its life in this entertaining debut by Schwendler. Baggie, longtime resident at the House of B’Aggie, is shocked when the store’s owner puts her on sale—a telltale sign of declining value for a handbag—and even more dismayed when she finds out the store is closing down. Eventually Baggie, along with her glamorous sister Bling, are bought as presents for a teenage girl and her mother. At first, Baggie lies forgotten in Annie’s room, until the glorious moment when Annie and her mom plan a trip to Italy, giving Baggie the chance to flourish as a travel handbag once again.

Despite Baggie’s fervent hopes, the trip does not go as planned. Stored in the plane’s cargo section due to her size, Baggie ends up at the wrong airport. Falling prey to an auction house that resells lost bags, she eventually runs into some friends who help her discover how to reunite with Annie–a meeting that Schwendler leaves up in the air at the story’s end. Even with the cliffhanger, readers will still be amused. Baggie and her friends spout oodles of funny sayings—including the ultimate bag insult that “you can be a real fanny pack sometimes”—and freely share their experiences from a handbag’s perspective (Baggie gets a birds-eye view of a luggage free-for-all in the plane’s cargo space, and a rucksack schools her on why it’s so different from a backpack).

Schwendler offers up plenty of back matter to keep readers intrigued, such as general packing rules (hint: your little brother is probably too big to stuff into a suitcase) and specifics on a global tracking system to prevent lost baggage. As Schwendler points out, everyone needs a bag of some kind– even Chewbacca carries one, and “if one of the defenders of the Rebellion carries a messenger bag as well as a blaster” maybe you should, too.

Takeaway: An entertaining handbag takes on the world in this lively children’s debut.

Great for fans of: Ian Falconer’s Olivia Goes To Venice, Lisa Brown’s The Airport Book.

Production grades
Cover: C
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: B
Marketing copy: B