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

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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


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

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

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. 18, 2019


From the Wild Robot series , Vol. 3

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant.

Robot Roz undertakes an unusual ocean journey to save her adopted island home in this third series entry.

When a poison tide flowing across the ocean threatens their island, Roz works with the resident creatures to ensure that they will have clean water, but the destruction of vegetation and crowding of habitats jeopardize everyone’s survival. Brown’s tale of environmental depredation and turmoil is by turns poignant, graceful, endearing, and inspiring, with his (mostly) gentle robot protagonist at its heart. Though Roz is different from the creatures she lives with or encounters—including her son, Brightbill the goose, and his new mate, Glimmerwing—she makes connections through her versatile communication abilities and her desire to understand and help others. When Roz accidentally discovers that the replacement body given to her by Dr. Molovo is waterproof, she sets out to seek help and discovers the human-engineered source of the toxic tide. Brown’s rich descriptions of undersea landscapes, entertaining conversations between Roz and wild creatures, and concise yet powerful explanations of the effect of the poison tide on the ecology of the island are superb. Simple, spare illustrations offer just enough glimpses of Roz and her surroundings to spark the imagination. The climactic confrontation pits oceangoing mammals, seabirds, fish, and even zooplankton against hardware and technology in a nicely choreographed battle. But it is Roz’s heroism and peacemaking that save the day.

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9780316669412

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023

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