A down-on-his-luck middle schooler discovers his town has some new arthropod inhabitants.
In the town of Butcherville, where processed pork products reign supreme, Marvin Watson's middle school career isn’t beginning particularly well. The white boy’s diabolical cousin (and pork-product heir), Little Stevie—who makes Dudley Dursley look like a Boy Scout—has it out for him and seizes every opportunity to humiliate him. Marvin is nearly friendless except for the malodorous Lee, another white boy, and the bespectacled and elaborately braced Fatima. His parents have moved him up to their ramshackle attic so his caterwauling baby brother can have his room. On top of all these problems, he’s discovered that three giant anthropomorphic, wool-eating, sports-loving moths have taken up residence in his attic and that a giant bloodthirsty, Shakespeare-quoting spider is terrorizing his town. Though Marvin isn't always likable—he often thinks of himself before others and makes the wrong decision—he must work together with Lee and Fatima to save his town from imminent arachnid destruction. Large, clear, full-page illustrations enhance each chapter, making this a giggle-worthy read-aloud. The whimsy, however, often meanders into full-fledged ridiculousness and combines with vague and unresolved plotlines for an unsettled conclusion. Readers willing to overlook this, however, may well appreciate the absurdity and humor.
While not particularly substantive, this is the whole hog for silliness. (Fantasy. 7-12)