Newly minted fans will hope that future myth-adventures will be just as silly.

ODD GODS

From the Odd Gods series , Vol. 1

Middle school is never easy, especially when you’re powerless and your brother’s a perfect God.

Oddonis, son of Zeus and Freya, has never resembled his twin, Adonis. Adonis was born with a six pack and a mane of beautiful, blond hair. Oddonis was born with an “old guy jelly belly.” Elementary school was no fun, but Oddonis’ hoping that Mount Olympus Middle School will be different. Ha. On the first day, he and his best friend, Gaseous, the flatulent son of Uranus and Chalupa, the Refried Bean Queen, are pranked by Adonis and his God friends on the bus and then refused entrance via the Gods’ door. Yep, more of the same. They do make more friends, including tiny Puneous, smart Mathena, and contagious Germes, but the Gods rule the school, and the election for class president will soon make that official. Adonis runs unopposed until a fed-up Oddonis decides to try to beat his conceited brother. Can the Odds beat the Gods? This series opener sports in-line comics and spot illustrations as well as plenty of potty humor (Oddonis’ dog’s name is Trianus, and the name’s appropriate). The whackadoodle mishmash of world mythologies and…other stuff (Germes’ mom is Typhoid Mary—go figure) may bug both myth-heads and readers who appreciate consistency in worldbuilding, but even they will have to laugh.

Newly minted fans will hope that future myth-adventures will be just as silly. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 7-11)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-283953-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.

WAYSIDE SCHOOL BENEATH THE CLOUD OF DOOM

Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the...

CHARLIE BUMPERS VS. THE TEACHER OF THE YEAR

From the Charlie Bumpers series , Vol. 1

Charlie Bumpers is doomed. The one teacher he never wanted in the whole school turns out to be his fourth-grade teacher.

Charlie recalls third grade, when he accidentally hit the scariest teacher in the whole school with his sneaker. “I know all about you, Charlie Bumpers,” she says menacingly on the first day of fourth grade. Now, in addition to all the hardships of starting school, he has gotten off on the wrong foot with her. Charlie’s dry and dramatic narrative voice clearly reveals the inner life of a 9-year-old—the glass is always half empty, especially in light of a series of well-intentioned events gone awry. It’s quite a litany: “Hitting Mrs. Burke in the head with the sneaker. The messy desk. The swinging on the door. The toilet paper. And now this—the shoe on the roof.” Harley has teamed once again with illustrator Gustavson (Lost and Found, 2012) to create a real-life world in which a likable kid must face the everyday terrors of childhood: enormous bullies, looming teachers and thick gym coaches with huge pointing fingers. Into this series opener, Harley magically weaves the simple lesson that people, even teachers, can surprise you.

Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the sarcasm of Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56145-732-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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