van Eekhout, Greg. Kid Vs. Squid.
Nominated for the Cybils by Sarah Prineas (See yesterday's reviews!)
Poor Thatcher. His parents have dumped him with his great uncle Griswald at his seaside "dime museum" for the summer, and the most thrilling thing he does is dust the shrunken heads. That is, until a girl breaks into the museum and steals the "what-is-it". Accompanied by Trudy, a smart-mouthed local girl, he tracks down the thief, only to find that she is Shoal, the daughter of the king of Atlantis, and the "what-is-is" is the head of Skalla, a sea demon who has cursed Shoal's people to a life of wandering. Griswald also turns out to be more than he seems, and the story rollicks along as the three children try to defeat Skalla's attempts to construct and rule a new Atlantis.
Strengths: Absolutely laugh-out-loud funny at points, in a snarky, middle school goofy way that the students will adore. If we put van Eekhout and Sonnenblick in a room together, we probably couldn't breathe for laughing. Great, quotable funny lines, hysterical situations. No only was the book funny and action packed, but Thatcher and Trudy had a lot of good character building moments as well. Will definitely buy this one and suggest that my public library does as well. (Thanks again, Cuyahoga County Public Library!)
Weaknesses: Students are enthralled with the idea of Atlantis, and working in more mythology would have made this a sure hit.