An energetic romp through a young boy’s comedic quest and a warmly told tale of youth and family.

SIX THOUSAND DOUGHNUTS

Chaos ensues when a young boy believes he’s uncovered a loophole that entitles him to thousands of doughnuts for pennies on the dollar in Thomas Tosi’s middle-grade book.

Personal space and possessions can be difficult to find in a large family, and New Hampshire fifth grader Abe Mitchell sometimes finds the situation stifling. He just wants something that he can truly call his own, and one day, he thinks he’s found just the thing when his father wins a coupon for a free doughnut from the local Sweetly Crisp doughnut shop. Abe believes that because the coupon claims its cash equivalent is 1/20 of a cent, then he should be able to use it—along with $3, which he received from his younger sister Peg—to buy a grand total of 6,000 doughnuts. His attempt to cash in on his scheme results in a food fight, perhaps started by his crush Marlene, that results in unexpected fame and a comically tense standoff with Marlene’s father, the grumpy owner of the doughnut shop. Determined to claim his thousands of doughnuts, Abe later sets his sights on the Judge Sally Rules show to get justice, but things may not pan out the way he wants. Throughout the narrative, Thomas Tosi weaves in comic shenanigans involving other members of Abe’s large family; for example, his twin older brothers attempt to cash in on a viral video of their older cousin, a would-be lawyer who speaks with a Southern twang, which shows her being hit by a doughnut during the food fight. In a side plot, Tosi sweetly develops the relationship between Abe and Peg, who struggles with a lack of self-confidence and lives in the shadow of her four older siblings. The black-and-white line drawings by Meaghan Tosi, the author’s daughter, are delightful, featuring images that employ the same humorous exaggeration and mock-serious tone that pervade the text.

An energetic romp through a young boy’s comedic quest and a warmly told tale of youth and family.

Pub Date: June 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-954782-01-3

Page Count: 284

Publisher: Dooney Press

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2021

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS

From the Captain Underpants series , Vol. 9

Sure signs that the creative wells are running dry at last, the Captain’s ninth, overstuffed outing both recycles a villain (see Book 4) and offers trendy anti-bullying wish fulfillment.

Not that there aren’t pranks and envelope-pushing quips aplenty. To start, in an alternate ending to the previous episode, Principal Krupp ends up in prison (“…a lot like being a student at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, except that the prison had better funding”). There, he witnesses fellow inmate Tippy Tinkletrousers (aka Professor Poopypants) escape in a giant Robo-Suit (later reduced to time-traveling trousers). The villain sets off after George and Harold, who are in juvie (“not much different from our old school…except that they have library books here.”). Cut to five years previous, in a prequel to the whole series. George and Harold link up in kindergarten to reduce a quartet of vicious bullies to giggling insanity with a relentless series of pranks involving shaving cream, spiders, effeminate spoof text messages and friendship bracelets. Pilkey tucks both topical jokes and bathroom humor into the cartoon art, and ups the narrative’s lexical ante with terms like “pharmaceuticals” and “theatrical flair.” Unfortunately, the bullies’ sad fates force Krupp to resign, so he’s not around to save the Earth from being destroyed later on by Talking Toilets and other invaders…

Is this the end? Well, no…the series will stagger on through at least one more scheduled sequel. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-17534-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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