Simon's dream to win a fortune in the school talent show with his two best pals, Munch and Ralph, is thwarted by the band trio’s lack of practice.
Simon likes to speak in big words (boldfaced and defined in a lengthy glossary in the end). Munch eats anything, even boogers and turds. Everything makes Ralph sick. These three jokes are repeated ad nauseam. But the exaggeration in this first novel by picture-book writer Kelley (Twelve Terrible Things, 2008) doesn’t end with these characterizations. Everyone is a stereotype: Simon’s hated big sister, their overweight and inattentive teacher, their ancient, muffin-flinging neighbor, Mrs. Annand, and their archenemies Mike, Evil Ernie and Eviler Ernie (who actually loves to knit). Chapter by chapter, Simon describes their failed attempts to practice for the Friday night show, Mrs. Annand’s bran-muffin attacks and finally, their lame performance, dancing to a toddler’s CD. Kelley’s graphite sketches accompany each chapter. Simon, with his glasses and V-neck sweater, is easily identifiable, as are other characters. Sharp-eyed readers will notice that Munch is not the only one who gets a haircut. The concluding glossary includes example sentences but no pronunciation guides, making it less-than-useful.
Only for the strong-stomached. (Fiction. 8-10)