3 September 2013, Hyperion Books
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Nick, Molly, and Karl are back after they have stopped Ray, the bully from The Odd Job Squad, and are back in the safety patrol, although it’s boring now that Ray has reformed. Molly is glad when Simone, a new student from France, shows up and is glad to hang out with the misfit group. Nick is still attracted to Becky, but not when she plays with her gum; he is still dismayed that his mother is dating Phil; and he really wants to go on the class field trip to King Potatmus’ Egytopolis and Water Park. When he accidentally rolls himself down stairs in a garbage can and Phil assumes he was bullied, the school implements a strict Zero Tolerance policy against bullying. Students run bake sales and have all sorts of activities to stop bullying. Nick suspects that Simone is not the person she claims to be, but when he tries to investigate her activities, he is accused of bullying her. With the help of Karl and Molly, as well as Mr. Dupree and Meemaw, he tries to prove this during a wild day of antics at the Water Park. What will be the fate of bullies at Emily Dickinson Middle School?
Strengths: This notebook novel will be popular with younger students because it has pictures and is very goofy. Has some decent writing and some fun characters.
Weaknesses: Dangerously close to the elementary side of the Pilkey line, and the illustrations are so strongly reminiscent of Bloom County that I was distracted, although the target demographic will not be familiar with the work of Breathed.