A worthy addition to the series, albeit a bit more somber than its forerunners.

DAWN AND THE IMPOSSIBLE THREE

From the BSC Graphix series , Vol. 5

In the fifth installment of the graphic adaptation of the beloved series, one of the members of the Baby-Sitters Club copes with a family that’s struggling through an acrimonious divorce.

Dawn Schafer, white and a recent transplant from California, is the newest member of the club. Her mother is dating fellow member Mary Anne’s father, and Kristy, their club president, is jealous of Mary Anne and Dawn’s new bond. When Dawn begins to sit for a new family—the Barretts—she is immediately struck by their household’s general disorder and rambunctious kids. She learns that the Barretts are in the midst of a tempestuous separation, and their growing rancor soon has serious implications for the entire family and Dawn. After a harrowing event, Dawn must confront Mrs. Barrett and voice her concerns despite her apprehension at broaching such a difficult topic with an adult. Slightly more serious than its predecessors, this offering tackles the weighty issues of divorce and kidnapping but manages to resolve things tidily in the comfortably episodic manner that fans of the series expect. This volume introduces new artist Galligan, who replaces veteran Raina Telgemeier. Although Galligan’s style is subtly different than Telgemeier’s, fans should not be alienated by the smooth transition. In her full-color panels, the principal characters appear to be white, save Asian club member Claudia.

A worthy addition to the series, albeit a bit more somber than its forerunners. (Graphic adaptation. 7-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-06730-9

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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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

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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

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