Some humor writers have a rule of thumb: always make the jokes funnier than they need to be. This book is much funnier than it needs to be.
When Bug Blonsky goes skateboarding, he doesn’t just let a dog ride on the board with him. There’s also a very alarmed-looking frog at the front of the board, sitting in a bowl of cereal to keep damp. “Bug” got his nickname because he’s “super wiggly and never sit[s] still” or—according to his sister—because he’s “super annoying.” He’s proud of his superpower and pictures himself in a superhero outfit with bug-eye goggles and four arms. A lot of authors and illustrators would have left off there (the drawing is quite funny), but Redmond tops the joke by listing all Bug’s abilities (“Two sets of armpits for twice as many fart sounds”). The book is almost entirely a collection of jokes. The plot can be summed up in seven words: Bug gets in trouble, over and over. The pictures often improve the jokes; they’re unpolished but effective. They almost resemble characters from graffiti art, like a much more detailed version of “Kilroy was here.” The cast is a largely white one, though Bug’s best friend, Louie, is black.
If the story feels episodic and unresolved, the jokes work, and most of the time, they work twice as well as necessary. (Fiction. 6-9)