January 13th 2017 by Scholastic Press
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
When a wolf decides that he's tired of always being "the bad guy" he joins forces with a snake, piranha, and shark. They are going to team up and do nice things for a change, like rescuing a kitten stuck in a tree and freeing dogs from a local pound. Oddly, things don't always go the way that they should, even though the shark makes a very convincing woman just by putting on a dress.
The Bad Guys is formatted in a way that will be very helpful for struggling and emergent readers. Like Pilkey's Ricky Ricotta books, it has simple text accompanied by clear, explanatory pictures. I've never understood the appeal of graphic novels for this population because of the tiny print, but this was perfect. Not only was the text to picture ration great, but the length and size of the book makes it look like a middle grade novel instead of a "baby book". For middle school students who are struggling with reading, this can be very important. Even the cover looks middle school appropriate.
This was also completely hysterical in a way that will be appealing to first graders as much as eighth graders. When the group is trying to break in to the dog pound, the wolf ties the snake and piranha to a grappling hook and repeatedly tries to throw them into a window, accompanying each failure with the assurance that THIS time he will definitely be successful. The slapstick element is broad, certainly, but still very funny.
I showed the kitten-in-a-tree sequence to a couple of adult friends, and we laughed until we cried.
This is a much purchase for school libraries as well as an excellent gift for a wide variety of readers who enjoy Eaton's The Flying Beaver Brothers, Krosoczka's Lunch Ladies, or Vernon's Dragonbreath series. I can't wait to see what these guys get up to next!