Saturday, August 28, 2021

Bedhead Ted and Squirrel Do Bad

SanGiacomo, Scott. Bedhead Ted. 
August 24th 2021 by Quill Tree Books 
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Ted is dreading the first day of school, even though he has his good friend Stacy to stand by him. Sure enough, other students make fun of him for his exuberant hairstyle on the bus, but Stacy reminds Ted that what other people say shouldn't matter. Ted has plenty to fear: Gary, the school's biggest bully, won't leave Ted alone, and slightly older student Jayla is feared because of the rumors that she is fiercely protective of her younger sister June. Ted is not surprised when Stacy puts together a club house that serves as headquarters for research into the Brookside Beast, a giant, raccoon-like creature that has been sighted around town because his friend has long been interested in the Beast, but he is surprised when Gary's friends Tommy and Saanvi join Stacy in his investigations. This makes him worry that Stacy won't be HIS friend anymore. Jayla ends up babysitting for Ted, and isn't as scary as she first seemed. The Beast sightings start to focus on a garage deep in the woods and on a former animal control worker. While this is going on, Ted finds out some secrets about his more-than-unruly hair both from his grandmother and from some of the amazing things it occasionally does. Will he be able to harness this new superpower to uncover the truth about the Beast... and to salvage his friendship with Stacy?
Strengths: The illustrations in this were great, with a vague retro feel I can't quite place but really enjoyed. I loved the beginning, when the mother kept telling Ted that things would be alright, and Ted CLEARLY did not believe her! The grandmother, who uses a walker, was delightful as well, and she was a good person to tell Ted about his family background. Stacy was also a powerful character, since he was not bothered by what other people said and was very brave in many ways. The mystery of the Beast is fairly mild, but has a satisfying conclusion. The best thing was how Ted felt about Stacy being friends with Tommy and Saanvi. At first, he is very jealous, but is able to think things through and realize that he wasn't being rationale or fair to Stacy. 
Weaknesses: It took a bit of a leap of faith to believe in the super powers of Ted's hair. Other than the fact it is somehow hereditary, there's not a whole lot of explanation. Young readers won't care. 
What I really think: Ted is in 4th grade, and this does have a younger vibe for it. I would definitely purchase this for an elementary library, bit am not sure that this will appeal to 7th and 8th graders. The blurb says that this is great for fans of the Lunch Lady or Hilo books, and that seems accurate.

Pastis, Stefan. Squirrel Do Bad
August 31st 2021 by Aladdin
E ARC provided by Netgalley

Wendy the Wanderer doesn't actually get to wander from her town of Trubble very much, since her father has become very overprotective of her after her mother's death. When he has to travel for business, however, she is left with a babysitter who is supposed to be very strict but who actually is just glued to her phone the entire time. Wendy would like to travel abroad, but when she sneaks out, starts small. She gets a mooshie (hot cocoa with 40 marshmallows) to drink in the park, and ends up sharing it with Squirrel, since she has no nuts. The sugar and caffeine first brighten Squirrels outlook, but then cause him to run amok, and the mayor's office is blown up. The mayor is uninjured, since he prefers to spend his days sitting in a tree. Squirrel is imprisoned, and set to stand trial, although the sheriff , Sean O'Shifty, hates squirrels. Through a technicality, Squirrel is set free, which disappoints many in town, especially the Moles of Trubble Hoping Everything's Reformed. (Or, MOTHER.) These moles have tried to make the town better, but have failed. At one point, all of the mooshie shops are blown up, and suspicion once again falls on Squirrel. Wendy feels that all of the bad things that have happened are her fault, so she tries to investigate and find out what is going on in Trubble. Answer: a whole lot of weirdness. Will she be able to find out who is actually bombing things in the town and save her new friend?
Strengths: If you need a graphic novel that is a non sequitur filled goof fest in full color, this is the book for you. There are plenty of goofy characters and situations. If you are familiar with either the Timmy Failure books (starting in 2012, seven volumes) or the Pearls Before Swine comic strip, much of the book will seem familiar. There is even a cameo with an alligator as a lawyer. There's a slight plot, and Wendy's desire to explore her world and eventually help out her friend is character development. 
Weaknesses: While some goofy non sequiturs can be fun, this quickly got old, and the drawing style, which is similar to the one Pastis uses when his PBS characters draw strips of their own, is not all that pleasing. Wendy's teeth, in particular were disturbing.
What I really think: If I could buy every book in the world, I might buy this. Ten years ago, when there were fewer graphic novel choices, I might have bought this. Now, there are a lot more choices of quality graphic novels. Will kids read this? Yes. Did I like it? Not really.

No comments:

Post a Comment