Saturday, June 08, 2019

Beach Battle Blowout (Welcome to Wonderland #4)

Grabenstein, Chris. Beach Battle Blowout (Welcome to Wonderland #4)
April 16th 2019 by Random House
Copy provided by the publisher

P.T. and his grandfather are still trying to save the Wonderland motel, having solved the problems that threatened their success in The Sandapalooza Shake-up. There is even good news-- there is a magazine competition for family friendly activities in Florida, and Disney World is not in the running, giving Walt Wilkie a chance to finally prove his superiority to another famous Walt! There is a new arcade in town, and it is a threat, but P.T. and Gloria just take this as a chance to up their game at the Wonderland. Walt decides to do themed rooms, like a coconut cream pie suite, and this takes money, so Gloria puts her fantasy stock investment skills to life with the grubstake of Walt's years' worth of pocket change. The competition includes "secret shoppers", so the staff at the Wonderland pays special attention to several patrons who seem most likely to have that role. Another motel resident, Dill, often hangs out with P.T. and Gloria because his parents are always working, and the three check out all of the local competitions in order to hone their improvements. Of course, humorous complications ensue at all of these. In true Wonderland fashion, there are some nefarious characters who are trying to win unfairly, but there are also good folks who help the kids out. In the end, the motel doesn't win, but is a finalist, which is enough for Walt and for increased business.
Strengths: This series is quite a fun one-- P.T. has a lot of energy and love for his family, and the characters are goofy without being overly quirky. I love the idea of a small motel in Florida, and Walt's special brand of family fun is charming.
WeaknessesThis was more realistic than some of the other titles, so didn't have as much mystery, but this makes it somehow more believable. 
What I really think: This series does even better than this author's Mr. Lemoncello's Library with my students, so I'm glad to see another title.

Stanton, Matt. Prank Wars (Funny Kid #3)
Published January 8th 2019 by HarperCollins
Library copy

Tired of replacing Wimpy Kid books because you know darn well the 8th graders checking them out have already read them? Want to make your life easier on the first day of school? Invest in this series by Matt Stanton. The pictures are better, there's more of a plot, and they are just as funny.

Are they a little annoying to adults, who doubt Max is really famous for his stand up comedy and know that Gunker dragons aren't real? Yes, but that makes them even more appealing to an 11 year old, doesn't it? Not as brilliant as Big Nate but better than Patterson's I, Funny.

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