Saturday, October 13, 2018

Funny Kid: Stand Up

39669061Stanton, Matt. Stand Up (Funny Kid #2)
June 19th 2018 by HarperCollins
Copy Provided by Young Adult Books Central

After his attempts to run for class president in Funny Kid for President, Max has decided that his identity is firmly tied to being the "funny kid". When his arch enemy, Abby Purcell, not only calls him "unfunny kid" but gets a laugh when his own joke did NOT, he is beside himself and feels that amends have to be made. He tries out for the Redhill Talent Quest, only to find that another participant, Tumbles the Clown, is attempting to be funny at the expense of Max. Tumbles heckles Max mercilessly and throws him off his game, but when Max tries to heckle Tumbles, he is admonished for it! Clearly, this isn't fair, and when Max's grandfather disappears from the local nursing home, Max uses this as an excuse to drop out. There is a note from kidnappers, which is highly suspect, but Officer Purcell is still brought in to help, and brings her daughter... ABBY! Max is not happy at all, and gets involved with the search, but also decides to continue to participate. Eventually, a secret emerges involving Tumbles and Max's grandfather. Can Max solve the mystery in time to amuse the audience at the Talent Quest?

This notebook novel is a good mix of illustrations and text, and has plenty of throwaway jokes, such as a backstory of Max trying to make people laugh that includes an account of his birth, complete with his bare baby bum! This is far more amusing than Patterson's I, Funny, especially since it is very clear that Max's grandfather isn't in any real danger. I do like the depiction of "Cranky Pants"-- "Mom says he thinks Planet Earth is his house and everyone else popped in without asking"! (page 18)

It's interesting that Max's downfall is due in part to the fact that all of the students in his class really like their new, young teacher, Miss Sweet. They don't appreciate Max playing jokes on her, and since that is a huge source of his humor, it has a bad effect on his popularity. Also interesting is watching him freeze and be unable to come up with good jokes when him rhythm is thrown off. Losing one's "mojo" happens all too frequently, and it's important for young readers to see this happen to some of their favorite characters.

Like other notebook novels like Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School, How to Be a Supervillain, Remy Sneakers, and King of the Bench Funny Kid includes plenty of poop and fart jokes, visual gags, and silly situations that will make readers laugh out loud. Get a copy of this for long summer car trips along with Marty Pants and some Big Nate comic books to insure that instead of hearing "Are we there yet?" you'll be hearing bad jokes!

Stilton, Thea. The Secret of the Crystal Fairies.(Thea Stilton Special Edition #7)
October 9th 2018 by Scholastic
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

Even though Thea is off on an international scientific expedition to the Arctic, her five friends in the Seven Roses Unit are willing to give up their exotic spring break vacations in order to magically travel to the Crystal Kingdom to help save the day. Queen Tourmaline is under an evil spell, so things are not going well in the kingdom. it is up to the girls to travel across it, meet with different fairies and creatures, and try to figure out how to reverse the spell. They are guided by Turquoise the fish through an odd ocean, and furthered along by the Current Carnelians. They meet dragons, follow the Rocky Crystal Path, and try to talk Wolf into letting the Sweet Awakening Gem leave the Jade Jungle so that Tourmaline can be released from her spell.

This is a sparkly and colorful book, filled with all manner of sweet, magical fairies, multiple types of shiny jewels, and an air of adventure that comes straight from a video game. There is even a map that shows the route that the group takes, and there is a list of the beings they meet at the beginning.

The draw of these books is the use of lots of color and pictures. The stories are a bit predictable (there are a LOT of them!), and I struggle to keep Thea's friends straight, but there is nonstop action and adventure, although not as many descriptions of food as in Geronimo Stilton books! (Although there are some yummy cupcakes!)  The Thea Stilton Special Editions are more like The Kingdom of Fantasy series; I rather prefer the regular adventures where the girls travel to different countries.

There's no lack of beautiful ball gowns or phrases like "fabumouse" and "mouselets", and the girls (who are pictured as being a vaguely multicultural group, for mice!) all get along well with each other and with their companion and guide, Will. They enjoy their adventures and look forward to seeing their friend and mentor Thea again on their next mission.

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