An entertaining fantasy with a quirky, inventive storyline that shows how things invariably turn out badly for bullies.

Prince Iggy and the Kingdom of Naysayer

A lonely boy learns how to stand up against a cast of mean bullies in Fynn’s debut middle-grade novel.

Iggy Rose is living a life of hell at the Naysayer Academy. In a school where only bad children survive, not only are the children bullying him, but the headmistress is giving him a hard time, too. Poor Iggy is thrown down a garbage chute by the spiteful Teddy, where, unbeknown to his persecutors, he’s rescued by a mysterious man who insists that the young boy is a long-lost prince who must now stand up and reclaim his kingdom. That’s not going to be easy given that Iggy isn’t convinced he’s a prince and the King of Naysayer has stolen a magic ring from his finger. There’s plenty of knockabout farce to enjoy with Iggy’s new friends: a professor who’s losing his mind, a sea captain whose strength has diminished, a fortuneteller who can’t read the future, and the wonderfully named Henry O’Henry, whose poetic powers are wasting away. Only by reclaiming the ring and his throne can Iggy and his friends halt the withering of their powers and escape the evil Kingdom of Naysayer. The underlying message that bullying never pays is handled with skill, and a humorous approach keeps the story light. The black-and-white illustrations resemble watercolor sketches and possess a rustic charm that complements the tale. It won’t be long before readers are cheering for Iggy as he gets back at the nasty people who’ve made his life a misery at the academy. A second book, Iggy and the Tower of Decisions, follows the intrepid hero’s adventures in his new role as Prince Rose of the Rose Kingdom.

An entertaining fantasy with a quirky, inventive storyline that shows how things invariably turn out badly for bullies.

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Did you like this book?

A witty addition to the long-running series.

THE DEEP END

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 15

The Wimpy Kid hits the road.

The Heffley clan has been stuck living together in Gramma’s basement for two months, waiting for the family home to be repaired, and the constant togetherness has been getting on everybody’s nerves. Luckily Greg’s Uncle Gary has a camper waiting for someone to use it, and so the Heffleys set off on the open road looking for an adventurous vacation, hoping the changing scenery will bring a spark back to the family unit. The winding road leads the Heffleys to a sprawling RV park, a setting teeming with possibilities for Greg to get up to his usual shenanigans. Greg’s snarky asides and misadventures continue to entertain. At this point the Wimpy Kid books run like a well-oiled machine, paced perfectly with witty lines, smart gags, and charming cartoons. Kinney knows just where to put a joke, the precise moment to give a character shading, and exactly how to get the narrative rolling, spinning out the oddest plot developments. The appreciation Kinney has for these characters seeps through the novels, endearing the Heffleys to readers even through this title, the 15th installment in a franchise boasting spinoffs, movies, and merchandise. There may come a time when Greg and his family overstay their welcome, but thankfully that day still seems far off.

A witty addition to the long-running series. (Humor. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4868-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

more