Friday, December 15, 2017

Funny Kid For President

34848496Stanton, Matt. Funny Kid For President
January 2nd 2018 by HarperCollins
E ARC from Edleweiss Above the Treeline

Max frequently runs afoul of his burly teacher, Mr. Armstrong, but is appalled when he is accused of pooping in the storeroom! Everyone thinks that Max did it, and when he is hauled before the principal, Mrs. Sniggles, instead of getting into trouble, he is encouraged to run for class president so that Mrs. Sniggles can meet regularly with Mr. Armstrong and a student to hash out problems. There hasn't been a president before, and Mr. Armstrong hopes to get his own candidate to win. Max and his friend Hugo try to figure out a way that Max can use his assets to an advantage, and decide that being funny is the way to go. As the election process progresses, candidates start to drop out, and Max suspects a plot behind it. Can he figure out a way to win the election as well as to clear his name after the poop incident?
Strengths: This is a slam dunk for readers who like humorous notebook novels. The class election is not as annoying as some I have read, and Max is an oddly endearing character. The illustrations are clear and well done, and the length and character development are perfect for the target demographic.
Weaknesses: I found it hard to believe that Mr. Armstrong was so evil, but he was brought to justice. Mrs. Sniggles was well meaning, but very odd. Perhaps it's just the Australian origin of the story.
What I really think:  Even though there were too many bodily function jokes for ME to really enjoy this, I have to admit that we did have an issue with a student pooping in the building some years ago! The "mad crapper" or "public enemy #2" not only pooped in the middle of the library stacks, but also in the gym locker room. And yes, I picked the poop in the library up with a tissue, thinking it was... anything else. So, it could happen!

32333185Foster, Stewart. Bubble
May 2nd 2017 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Public library copy
Joe has lived in the hospital near Heathrow Airport from a very young age because of an unnamed condition that compromises his immune system and would lead to his death if he breathed in regular air or ate regular food. He has an older sister who visits him, but she's studying to be a doctor and has little time, and his parents were killed in a tragic car accident when he was small. He has an online friend, Henry, who lives in Philadelphia and has a similar condition. Joe does talk to the nurses and orderlies in the hospital, and has computer access, but doesn't seem to do terribly much in the way of schooling or socializing. Once a year, a television crew comes to document his life, and he does take an ill-considered trip outside the hospital with one of the workers. Joe is frequently very ill, and this is described in great length. He always seems to recover, but his future looks bleak.

Strengths: It's pretty amazing that the author was able to fill up 345 pages of Joe's exploits when he really didn't do very much, and there aren't a lot of details about just what is wrong. Readers who adore Lurlen McDaniel might like this one, and although it is British, it is still understandable to US readers.
Weaknesses: Nothing really happens, and there's just layer upon layer of sad. I was also a bit surprised that Joe's day wasn't more regimented, with school and various educational experiences. There should have been a social worker or someone overseeing his care, especially since he is an orphan.
What I really think: If Joe were my child, I would have taken him to the beach for a lovely picnic years ago so he could feel the sand and sun. Not everyone is meant to live long lives.
Ms. Yingling

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