Friday, June 15, 2012
1 April 2012, Amulet Books
Friends Lenny and Casper get into their fair share of trouble in the town of Hairsprinkle, but when Casper uses his money to buy a nice suit and Heidelberg Handlebar Number Seven mustache and use this get up to rob the local bank, Lenny has to stop him, especially when Casper frames Lenny for the robbery. The power of the mustache is soon so great Casper has gathered a fortune large enough for him to buy the company that produced the mustache (as well as other fun novelty gimmicks) and to run for president, a step toward his evil masterminded goal of taking over the world. Lenny finds help in the form of Jodie O'Rodeo, a tween television musical star whose family lives in Hairsprinkle. In this rollicking adventure, the evil-doers are flaky and unapologetic, and the heroes are just trying to the right thing-- as long as someone will bring them some PopTarts as they try to save the world from the evil lurking behind the fake mustache.
Strengths: Like Angleberger's other work (The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda, The Return of Darth Paper, and Horton Halfpott), this is a nonstop GoofFest filled with quirky names, inexplicable obstacles, and giant sticky hands (there's a combo package for the next Scholastic Book Fair!). Totally orginal and unpredictable, fans of funny books as well as notebook novels (this has a fair amount of illustrations) will gladly pick this book up. I am always interested to see what Mr. Angleberger thinks up next!
Weaknesses: I didn't personally like this. Will I buy a copy or two and push them relentlessly on readers. Absolutely. Was it something I would reread on my own? Erm.... I'm not sure what it was-- either the use of odd names, which I always dislike, or the fact that I am not in fact a 12 year old boy (the I Am A Genius of Unspeakable Evil phenomenon), or an issue of falling on the elementary side of the Pilkey Line of goofiness-- but it didn't speak to me.
It will scream loudly at my reader, though, and that's what really matters!
I thought I might be able to find several covers with mustaches on the cover, but for now we will have to content ourselves with Snidely Whiplash and the book Mustache!
Hannan, Pete. My Big Mouth: 10 Songs I Wrote That Almost Got Me Killed.
1 July 2011, Scholastic.
Davis Delaware and his father move to a new community after the death of Davis' mother. His new high school is home to boring teachers and catatonic students, but also a bully (Gerald, aka "the butcher"), a talkative but friendly Dweeb (Edwin), and a cute girl who wants to start a rock band (Molly). Edwin and Molly start the Amazing Dweebs band, practicing at Edwin's father's barbershop in preparation for the Rock Around the Dock battle of the bands. All the while Davis is joining the poetry club at school, taking karate lessons, having a rocky relationship with Molly, and trying not to get permanently injured by Gerald. This is illustrated with goofy drawings, some from Davis doodling notebook.
Strengths: Loved this description: "It was your basic English teacher/librarian uniformL Cardigan sweater, white button-down blouse, skirt below the knees and --here's the kicker-- glasses with that chain around the neck. Those are pretty much the universal symbol for I think I'm smart and I know I'm old. (page 7) Some clever writing, a good basic plot, romance in a humorous setting.
Weaknesses: Again with the bullies pummeling students in the hallway and teachers looking the other way. Sigh. Not only that, but this is set in high school. Not sure what the goofy line between middle school and high school is called, but I'm thinking this lands on the middle school side of that. I will see what Surly Teen Boy thinks; if he likes it, I will buy it. May just not be understanding and liking it because I am a girl.