Savage, Doug. Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy
September 6th 2016 by Andrews McMeel Publishing
Copy received from the publisher
Rabbit Boy and Moose are hanging out in a meadow when space aliens land. While they don't hurt the two friends, they manage to imbue Moose with laser vision before taking off. It's a good thing we have comics, because the aliens only speak in their own tongue. In the second chapter, a factory emits toxic waste into a river, turning an unsuspecting bear into the terror spewing Aquabear, whom Laser Moose must subdue. The final threat is MechaSquirrel who is under the thrall of a cyborg porcupine and tries unsuccessfully to destroy Moose and Rabbit Boy. A few scientific facts enliven the end of the book.
Strengths: This was not quite as goofy as The Glorkian Warrrior Eats Adventure Pie, but a bit goofier than Stinky Cecil. I can see a 6-8 year old giggling tremendously over this one, and even middle school students who love comics will enjoy this. It's not the sort of thing that I understand, but the appeal to the target demographic is clear. I can also see lots of Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy role playing in the back yard! Interested to see the sequel.
Weaknesses: I was rather disturbed when Moose accidentally severs a deer's leg, and the deer lops back off into the forest with his leg in his mouth.
What I really think: I now have an overwhelming urge to reread Bernard Wiseman's Morris and Boris books.
Teagan, Erin. The Friendship Experiment
November 1st 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Maddie's sixth grade year is not off to a good start. Her grandfather, a famous scientist who researched Von Willebrand Disease with her father, has passed away after struggling with Alzheimers, and the family is selling his house. Her best friend, Elizabeth, is going to a fancy private school and has too much homework to hang out with her. She doesn't have anyone to hang out with at lunch except for Riley, whom she has taken an immediate dislike to, and several other quirky students. Her sister is suffering from more frequent nosebleeds due to her Von Willebrand's, and Maddie starts to have nosebleeds, too. Maddie talks her father into working in his lab so she can chronicle her experiences for a class project, but even that ends up ending poorly. The only thing to look forward to is a sleepover at the local science museum and the school pumpkin festival, but without a best friend, even those activities seem pointless. Can Maddie manage to figure out how to go on without her grandfather, and to make some new friends?
Strengths: There should be more books about girls who have an interest in science, so readers will enjoy learning about Maddie's hobby of swabbing different objects around school and growing cultures. It was interesting to read how both Maddie and her sister struggle with a very serious but not fatal disorder. I liked that her family, although quirky, was ultimately very supportive, from ecoconscious mom to irritating older sister to visiting grandma who will make her "real" food and watch her when she's home sick. The struggles with friends are very typical of middle school.
Weaknesses: While this didn't have any super, super sadness going on, it had an unrelenting amount of medium-level sadness that really brought me down. I also found it hard to believe that Maddie would carry around her science log/journal-- every middle schooler who keeps one of these (and who has read Harriet the Spy!) knows that you have to lock those journals up tight! They always get read by the wrong people and cause problems.
What I really think: Maybe the fact that I read it on the last day of summer vacation when it rained the entire day added to the general feeling of gloom and doom. The cover makes this look so much happier than it is. Perhaps I should take a nap and eat some chocolate before debating purchase of this.