Broad, Michael. Ghost Diamond! (Agent Amelia)
Nominated for the Cybils by Elizabeth Dingmann
Amelia takes her oversized back pack with her wherever she goes, because her disguises always come in handy. In the titular episode, her class goes on a field trip to a museum, and her teacher is acting strangely... mainly because she is planning to steal the diamond on display. Luckily, Amelia is prepared, so the teacher doesn't get away with it. Amelia also foils cat nappers who plan to use the cats to rob a bank and a man at a green house who is raising evil plants.
Strengths: This is the first book in a series. My children would have liked these a lot when they were younger. There are lots of pictures, a simple story line, and a triumphant young character saving the world from evil.
Weaknesses: The formulaic qualities that my children enjoyed are not something that I like, and the pictures could be a bit better done.
Wardlaw, Lee. 101 Ways to Bug Your Friends and Enemies.
Nominated for the Cybils by Lee Wardlaw
In this sequel to 101 Ways to Bug Your Parents and 101 Ways to Bug Your Teacher, Sneeze is back from summer camp only to find that his life has become complicated. He still wants to help out at Gadabout Golf but needs to take a class to make up a gym credit, since he has a complicated class schedule that is split between the high school and middle school. He did get into the Computer Aided Design Class, which should help him with his invention, the Nice Alarm, but there's a wrinkle-- Hayley (whose father owns Gadabout Golf) likes an older boy in that class, the new golfer from Hawaii, Cullen. Hayley, on whom Sneeze has a HUGE crush, asks Sneeze to intervene with Cullen on her behalf, and Sneeze gets involved in a Cyrano de Bergerac type correspondence with Hayley, impersonating Cullen. Add to the mix a variety of quirky friends with their own agenda as well as bullies who are threatening the golf center, and this is one wild ride!
Strengths: The middle school romance is fabulous, and these books are tremendously popular in my library.
Weaknesses: I hate reading dialects, so having Pierre's fake French accent and Cullen's pidgin about drove me over the edge.