Victor Shmud, a white child with a toy duck—or is that a chicken, as Victor seem to think?—embarks on an irreverent and ever so strange space adventure.
Victor doesn’t listen well in school, but he has a rich imagination and a clever friend, Patti (illustrated with a dark complexion). After a few minor misadventures, such as making a mustard-based beauty solution that he dumps, to ill effect, on the janitor’s head, Victor becomes involved in a space-battle game on Patti’s phone that the duck, Dumpylumps, somehow manages to win with his “butt” (a word that’s repeated fairly often). Real extraterrestrials beam up Victor and Dumpylumps to destroy their enemies, the Frappletonians, in an epic space battle—with help from Patti and to the consternation of their ugly but kind teacher, Mrs. Nozzleburp, whom Victor calls, “you great big beautiful doll.” Illustrations that are just as silly as the text abound, making this a very quick read, with only several sentences to a page. Combining goofy names, a preposterous but fast-paced plot, and an almost-a-superhero theme, this effort will be an easy sell, especially for those who may go on to enjoy the Captain Underpants series.
Benton’s wacky, off-the-wall humor may not appeal to more staid readers, but for the right audience, this will be an enticing offering. (Fantasy. 7-10)