August 2nd 2016 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
ARC from the publisher (Lizzy Mason)
Darkus Knightley still doesn't quite trust his father, detective Alan Knightley, and he knows that his stepfather, t.v. personality Clive, is completely bonkers. He's ready to give up investigating, but when Bogna the housekeeper disappears, he knows he must help Bill and the rest of the team find her. The search takes him to the US, where things are so very odd, although Darkus chooses not to complain about the way we serve tea! The Combination sabotages the team from the very moment they land, and finding Bogna takes them on an exciting road trip, and Tilly finds out some secrets about her mother. In the end, the Combination isn't as much of a threat... or is it?
Sequel to Knightley and Son and K-9.
Strengths: This was a decent action/adventure book, with things blowing up and people being chased about. There are even some cool gadgets, like a blow dryer that is also a blow torch. Darkus' observations of life in the US were rather amusing, and the mystery with the Combination wrapped up fairly well.
Weaknesses: Each book in this series seems rather different to me-- even Darkus' personality seems to change. I really did not appreciate that the third book has a completely different type of cover.
What I really think: Conflicted. While this type of book generally does well, this series hasn't circulated as much as I would like. Debating, since this is very much like Black's Urban Outlaws #3- Lockdown.
Peirce, Lincoln. Big Nate: Doodlepalooza
May 17th 2016 by HarperCollins
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central
Obviously, activity books are not something that I purchase for my library, and they are hard to review, but this was a particularly good activity book. I'm sort of tempted to keep it for myself, but it will make a fabulous prize at school.
This activity book is best used by readers of the Big Nate notebook novels, since it actually brings in episodes from the series! This made it fun to turn the pages and see what might be next. The illustrations that accompany the various puzzles are of the same high quality and add a lot of additional interest.
There are a wide range of activities included from drawing prompts to Mad Lib type fill-in-the-blanks. Word scrambles, mazes, and quizzes about the books give opportunities for lots of skills to be used.
When I was very young, my brother and I always got an activity book for Christmas. I hadn't thought about that in years, but flipping through Big Nate: Doodlepalooza really took me back. I was the sort of child who felt compelled to fill in the book in order without skipping any pages, and I remember feeling thrilled when a particularly intriguing puzzle came up. I would have very much enjoyed this, although I probably would have had to fight off my brother's attempts to trade with me!