Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Looniverse: Stranger Things by David Lubar, illustrated by Matt Loveridge

Now we're moving over to the "boy-themed" side of the Branches series. It's hard to call it anything else when the two series featuring girls are all about fashion and bffs and the series featuring boys are about Things Happening. However.

Popular author David Lubar takes on this series and we meet Ed, a boring, normal kid. But when he finds a mysterious coin...he's still a boring, normal kid. It's everyone else around him who's gone loony! Flying kids, super-strength, and all sorts of weird things happen. Will Ed get rid of the coin and all the strangeness in the world? Will his friends ever want to be around him again? Or will they realize that even boring, normal Ed has something a little...loony about him?

Lubar seems to have two speeds, wacky-funny and creepy-funny. This falls into the wacky-funny camp. I will admit that I didn't think much of it the first time I read it through, but looking at it again I think a lot of that was due to the illustrations, which aren't very good. They seem to be going for a cartoonish look, but just fall into the amateurish range with the slightly distorted faces and big eyes. Not as many beginning chapter readers go for the wacky-funny as most people seem to think, but Lubar is a pretty strong author and I have lots of fans of his Weenie series.

Verdict: I think this one is worth trying, especially if Scholastic eventually picks a better illustrator or the illustrations actually look better in the finished book, which is entirely possible.

ISBN: 9780545496025; Published May 2013 by Scholastic; ARC provided by publisher at ALA Midwinter 2013; Purchased for the library

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