No slump here; a satisfying and rollicking sophomore offering that improves on the first

THE TROLLS WILL FEAST!

From the Creeps series , Vol. 2

A group of smart misfits unearths a smelly supernatural threat that stands to destroy their entire town.

Something stinks in Pumpkins County, quite literally. In addition to the malodorous malady, two kids have gone missing. The racially and ethnically diverse Creeps—Carol, the computer whiz; Mitchell, the monster expert; Rosario, the compact couturier; and Jarvis, the invention-meister—know that something otherworldly must be afoot. They soon discover that a band of invisible (and very stinky) trolls who feed on stressed-out people are planning to feast upon their entire town and all its residents. They team up with a seasoned troll hunter and his prized secret weapon—illicit aerosol deodorant—only to have their arsenal seized in the name of protecting the environment. Will they be able to foil an entire tribe of hungry trolls before it feasts? Schweizer's pacing excels, and his worldbuilding is a clever delight, making for a boisterous narrative smartly depicted in comic format. Labeled a band of misfits, the Creeps may save the day, but they're still trying to find acceptance in the social strata of their school; not even saving the town automatically earns them popularity. Schweizer also imbues this sequel to Night of the Frankenfrogs (2015) with sly jabs at social media and people's willingness to believe anything they read online, giving his engagingly silly tale a dash of cultural relevance.

No slump here; a satisfying and rollicking sophomore offering that improves on the first . (Graphic science fiction/humor. 7-12)

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1882-3

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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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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