Sunday, May 27, 2018

Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School

34451595Falatko, Julie and Jack, Colin. Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School
May 29th 2018 by Scholastic
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Waldo and Sassy are hard working dogs who scour the floor for meatballs and keep their humans' house safe from squirrels every day, even when the humans give them the Breakfast of Distraction and escape every day. They worry about their boy, Stewart, who seems very sad to go to school, so they work out a plan to get into the building and check out Stewart's evil overlords. Luckily, Waldo can speak human, so when he shows up at school wearing a trench coat and blaming all of his quirks on the fact that he is from Liver, Ohio, the teachers and students all believe that he is the new student, Salty. The biggest problem that Stewart is facing is that he hasn't done any work on his big project, and has even lost the Information Sheet about it, which spells certain doom. Once Waldo and Sassy get accustomed to the school routine (piles of meat for lunch!), they try to help Stewart with his project. They decide that squirrels are a great topic, and manage to put together a project that saves the day. There is a sequel in the works!
Strengths: Even though this book would be easy enough for strong first grade readers to enjoy, it has a ton of funny jokes that will amuse adults as well. I love finding books like Stick Dog that incorporate both elements-- it's like whole wheat, organic toaster pastries sweetened with stevia. I read huge passages to my daughters, who agreed that Waldo and Sassy's voice sounds exactly like our dog Sylvie's, and we have taken to saying "tiny carrots wrapped in bacon" at every available opportunity. The parents' descriptions of being at work and playing with office supplies were hysterical as well. Plus... squirrels!
Weaknesses: I strongly suspect that this will be a paper-over-boards binding, which will mean getting a copy from Perma-Bound because this is too good a book to let fall apart within a year!
What I really think: Willing to spend a little more money and time on acquiring good bindings on quality notebook novels like Stick Dog, Big Nate and this book. Slightly annoyed at the publishers, but still glad of the books!

Blabey, Aaron. The Bad Guys in Alien vs. Bad Guys
March 27th 2018 by Scholastic Paperbacks
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

Dr. Rupert Marmalade, the hamster alien, has been defeated, and the Good Guys Club is celebrating. However, when they find themselves lost in deep space and once again at the will of evil, they are less than happy. Marmalade is now a slimy alien with dozens of tentacles... all of which end in tiny butts! Unless the guys can escape, they are all doomed to die. Legs figures out how to work an escape pod, and they're all set to go-- until an alien nabs Legs. Snake wants to go ahead and leave, abandoning their friend, but the others won't hear of it. At one point, Wolf and Snake have a heart-to-heart about their friendship, but snake leaves anyway. Or does he? Shark has a great plan to disguise himself as a butt-tentacled alien, and his costume is very convincing... until it isn't any more. Things like they are going to come to a grim end, when the day is saved by an unexpected source!

Blabey's illustrations are hysterical, and support the text brilliantly. When Wolf says "OK, if you vote to stop looking for our friends, raise your hands," the next box is just snake, looking VERY unhappy. So much emotion is able to be conveyed by the expressions on the faces, and of course, butts are always funny, especially when they are on alien tentacles!

The Bad Guys have really grown throughout this series, and now are completely devoted to saving the world. Who knew that starting to save kittens from trees (however unwillingly they were saved!) would end with the guys saving the world from complete and utter devastation-- not once, but twice. They have an uncanny knack for figuring out alien space ships, machinery, and weapons that the cast of Star Wars might envy!

The humor and illustrations in the Bad Guys series appeals to readers who giggle at Eaton's Flying Beaver Brothers and Eliopoulos's Cosmic Commandos, but the book has enough serious themes that make is akin to Winnick's Hilo when it comes to adventure and saving the day. While there are plenty of space cats books, this is the only one I know that has a space spider, snake, shark, piranha and wolf!

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