Hannah Montana Multi-Grain Secret Identity Cereal Kellogg's Rating: Two-and-a-half spoons out of four
Cereal description: Corn-and-oat discs that resemble semi-flattened Crunchberries -- a resemblance underscored by the light red and dark purple color scheme. Does that mean the real secret identity of Miley Stewart (the character Miley Cyrus plays in the Hannah Montana TV series and a movie set for release on April 10) is Cap'n Crunch? If only...
Box description: Miley is all Hannah on the front cover. Her hair is blonder than blond, her teeth are big enough to take a sizable chomp out of a basketball, she sports a weird series of purplish jewels under her right eye, she wears a massive jewel on the middle finger of her right hand (the better to make the little people feel even smaller than usual when she flips them off), and she's about to start vocalizing into a microphone that appears to have lost a battle with a BeDazzler. There's more purple in the background, as well as numerous shining stars (just like Hannah!) -- and a purple bowl of cereal doused with the usual splashes of advertising milk. The Kellogg's signature beneath the "NEW!" banner atop the frame gets equal billing with the familiar Disney scrawl -- bet lawyers on both side made some nice bank negotiating the sizing -- while the fine print under the sparkling "Hannah Montana" logo reveals that the cereal itself has been "Naturally & Artificially Flavored." I'm guessing the latter took precedence over the former. The panel opposite the nutrition information is highlighted by a "Time for a Rockin' Breakfast! Pop (Star) Quiz" that's light on Hannah trivia and heavy on attempts to make the stuff in the box seem like a gift from the dietary gods. For example: "How does eating a good breakfast help you stay healthy? A. Good nutrition improves your hair and skin. B. Milk builds strong teeth and bones. C. You're more likely to have a healthier body weight. D. All of the above." Gee, that's a puzzler -- speaking of which, the back of the box includes a "Puzzle This!" word search, with terms in the spotlight including "Glitter" and "Shine." What a bright idea! In addition, Hannah offers us "FashionScopes" -- horoscopes with a fashion-forward twist. As an Aries, my challenge "is to be a fashion leader, not a follower." Guess that means I'll have to stop wearing my jeans two days in a row without washing them and switch out the basketball sneakers I've worn since last June. They still smell fine, though. I swear.
Taste: I was fully prepared to be wowed by Hannah Montana cereal: no joke. The look and texture of the bits recalls the approach taken to some of Kellogg's more enjoyable one-shots of the recent past, including Barbie as the Island Princess Cereal, reviewed in this space last September. But the sweet bliss I expected to envelop my tongue turned out to be considerably less intense than I had hoped. As has been the case far too often of late with promising new munches, the sugar content is lower than necessary, likely due to some twisted attempt on the part of the manufacturer to make the cereal seem better for the eater (and his bicuspids) than it really is. This approach flies in the face of the Hannah Montana philosophy, which states that whenever a task is set before us, we need to really go for it -- give 110 percent, if not more! Secret Identity Cereal aims considerably lower, as if pleasing moms was more important than giving kids what they want -- a breakfast buzz that'll make diagramming sentences and taking spelling tests a little more tolerable.
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Conclusion: Less than BeDazzling.