Tatulli, Mark. Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic
1 October 2013, Andrews McMeel Publishing
ARC from Baker and Taylor
Desmond LOVES to do special effects of anything having to do with grossness or monsters. Unfortunately, he and his friend Ricky have been doing this a little too often at school, and the school disciplinary officer, Mr. Needles, is bound and determined to kick him out. As a last ditch effort, Desmond's parents decide he will get into less trouble if he is in an extracurricular activity, so he joins the AV club, where he airs a prank on the morning announcements that gets him kicked out. His next attempt is the school newspaper, but his article on how the school janitor is the secret ingredient in the sloppy joes gets him kicked out of that. His last chance is the drama club, and since not only is his attendance at school at stake, his ability to go on the awesome field trip to Crab Shell Pier is as well, so he reforms. He ditches his all black wardrobe, combs his hair, and cuts ties with Ricky. Since the girl he likes, Tina, is in drama club, he really does make every effort to behave. When pranks in Desmond's style keep happening on the set of the school production, Desmond is blamed even though he asserts his innocence. Can he find out who is pulling the pranks so he can stay in school?
Strengths: This is a notebook novel, so will be immensely popular. It doesn't hurt, either, that there are lots of fart jokes, rubber goblins in the teacher's lounge toilet, etc.
Weaknesses: Mr. Needles is shown as definitely having as his agenda removing Desmond from the school. While I'm all for adults being shown as silly or humorous, I'm not a fan of them being purposefully mean to children. When children who have previously been in trouble at my school make attempts to improve themselves, everyone on the staff helps as much as they can. I do realize this is for comic effect, but it still bothers me. And the principal is Mrs. Badonkus. Um...
So torn! This looks like it will be a series, and it's so hard to keep Notebook Novels on the shelves. Not everyone can be Big Nate, but I would love it if the books kids really wanted to read would be... better somehow.
Weiner, Ellis. The Templeton Twins Make a Scene
8 October 2013, Chronicle Books.
"With its kid-perfect
humor and dynamic illustrations, Book 1 of the hilarious Templeton Twins
series left young readers clamoring for more. This time, Abigail and
John Templeton find themselves at TAPAS (the Thespian Academy of the
Performing Arts and Sciences) where their father, the illustrious
Professor Templeton, has been hired to invent a groundbreaking
theatrical device. Once again, there is drama (of course!), silliness,
and suspense, as the twins (and their ridiculous dog) must thwart the
dastardly Dean brothers in order to save the invention as well as their
father (and the dog)."
I powered my way through the first book because it was so pretty, and I thought that it would be like methadone for my Lemony Snicket addicts. Surprisingly, the first book sat on the shelf, front facing, without beguiling anyone. Therefore, I wanted to SLAP the narrator good and hard and could not get through this one. Ick, ick, ick! Since The Series of Unfortunate Events was innovative and singular in its annoying style, I could deal with it, but... no. Just no.