An entertaining—but not particularly original—addition to the perennially relevant genre.

POTTYMOUTH AND STOOPID

Sludgepuggle! Pottymouth and Stoopid take on relentless bullies, terrible teachers, and a dastardly Ex-Dad.

Twelve-year-olds Michael and David have been best friends—and the objects of widespread ridicule—since preschool. Now they’re in seventh grade, and things are still pretty much the same. Everyone still calls David “Stoopid,” because he once accidentally spilled some paint, and Michael “Pottymouth,” because he responds with creative expletives when provoked (“Rrrrrggghhh, hicklesnicklepox! David isn’t stupid, you flufferknuckles!”). David’s divorced parents and Michael’s churlish foster parents are no help, and when a new TV show appears on the Cartoon Factory network, things take a turn…for the worse. As with Patterson and Grabenstein’s previous collaborations, the combination of short chapters and comical illustrations (here courtesy of Gilpin) targets fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. This iteration aims, not quite successfully in its broad strokes, to reflect a slightly more diverse crowd—the vast majority of primary characters are white, but Michael is black, and the story also touches on children’s experiences with divorced parents, (bad) foster parents, and families with lower incomes. Readers will be amused by Pottymouth and Stoopid’s shenanigans, bolstered occasionally by the brainy Anna Britannica (chubby and white and another victim of the school’s charismatic bully), but the generally formulaic tale delivers few truly funny or memorable moments.

An entertaining—but not particularly original—addition to the perennially relevant genre. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-34963-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2014

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • National Book Award Winner

  • Coretta Scott King Book Award Winner

  • Newbery Honor Book

BROWN GIRL DREAMING

A multiaward–winning author recalls her childhood and the joy of becoming a writer.

Writing in free verse, Woodson starts with her 1963 birth in Ohio during the civil rights movement, when America is “a country caught / / between Black and White.” But while evoking names such as Malcolm, Martin, James, Rosa and Ruby, her story is also one of family: her father’s people in Ohio and her mother’s people in South Carolina. Moving south to live with her maternal grandmother, she is in a world of sweet peas and collards, getting her hair straightened and avoiding segregated stores with her grandmother. As the writer inside slowly grows, she listens to family stories and fills her days and evenings as a Jehovah’s Witness, activities that continue after a move to Brooklyn to reunite with her mother. The gift of a composition notebook, the experience of reading John Steptoe’s Stevie and Langston Hughes’ poetry, and seeing letters turn into words and words into thoughts all reinforce her conviction that “[W]ords are my brilliance.” Woodson cherishes her memories and shares them with a graceful lyricism; her lovingly wrought vignettes of country and city streets will linger long after the page is turned.

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25251-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

NIGHTBIRD

There’s a monster in Sidwell, Massachusetts, that can only be seen at night or, as Twig reveals, if passersby are near her house.

It’s her older brother, James, born with wings just like every male in the Fowler line for the last 200 years. They were cursed by the Witch of Sidwell, left brokenhearted by their forebear Lowell Fowler. Twig and James are tired of the secret and self-imposed isolation. Lonely Twig narrates, bringing the small town and its characters to life, intertwining events present and past, and describing the effects of the spell on her fractured family’s daily life. Longing for some normalcy and companionship, she befriends new-neighbor Julia while James falls in love with Julia’s sister, Agate—only to learn they are descendants of the Witch. James and Agate seem as star-crossed as their ancestors, especially when the townspeople attribute a spate of petty thefts and graffiti protesting the development of the woods to the monster and launch a hunt. The mix of romance and magic is irresistible and the tension, compelling. With the help of friends and through a series of self-realizations and discoveries, Twig grows more self-assured. She is certain she knows how to change the curse. In so doing, Twig not only changes James’ fate, but her own, for the first time feeling the fullness of family, friends and hope for the future.

Enchanting. (Magical realism. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-38958-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

more