Being “a normal, average kid” is next to impossible when you’re a total weird magnet.
Doug Underbelly is on a quest to rise from the bottom of the school social order, which requires the appearance of normality. He and his father live in a creepy old house surrounded by graves (some open), so Doug pretends he lives in the quaint house next door. Crushes on girls are normal, so he fakes one. Everyone has a best friend; that must be Simon, who once gave him a stick of gum. But Doug has a supercolossal weird secret: He’s King of the Mole People. That’s why he’s always covered with mud and, often, grubs. Their former king Zoooooooooooooooog (lots of O’s means high rank in Mole country) had been deposed for not enforcing Mole laws. The Royal Guard and the people like Doug, but Croogoolooth the Royal Advisor seems to be up to something. When a crisis inside the Earth threatens the surface, is there any hope Doug can achieve his goals? In his middle-grade debut, Gilligan, creator of the comic strip “Pooch Cafe,” communicates the myth of “normal” with goofy (and often slimy) good humor. His many cartoons and goggle-eyed illustrations make for added laughs. Characters appear white (or various shades of green).
The Wimpy Kid’s got nothing on the King of the Mole People—he’s got more laughs and more mud. (Fantasy. 7-12)