Sludgepuggle! Pottymouth and Stoopid take on relentless bullies, terrible teachers, and a dastardly Ex-Dad.
Twelve-year-olds Michael and David have been best friends—and the objects of widespread ridicule—since preschool. Now they’re in seventh grade, and things are still pretty much the same. Everyone still calls David “Stoopid,” because he once accidentally spilled some paint, and Michael “Pottymouth,” because he responds with creative expletives when provoked (“Rrrrrggghhh, hicklesnicklepox! David isn’t stupid, you flufferknuckles!”). David’s divorced parents and Michael’s churlish foster parents are no help, and when a new TV show appears on the Cartoon Factory network, things take a turn…for the worse. As with Patterson and Grabenstein’s previous collaborations, the combination of short chapters and comical illustrations (here courtesy of Gilpin) targets fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. This iteration aims, not quite successfully in its broad strokes, to reflect a slightly more diverse crowd—the vast majority of primary characters are white, but Michael is black, and the story also touches on children’s experiences with divorced parents, (bad) foster parents, and families with lower incomes. Readers will be amused by Pottymouth and Stoopid’s shenanigans, bolstered occasionally by the brainy Anna Britannica (chubby and white and another victim of the school’s charismatic bully), but the generally formulaic tale delivers few truly funny or memorable moments.
An entertaining—but not particularly original—addition to the perennially relevant genre. (Fiction. 8-12)