Friday, July 25, 2014

The Misadventures of Salem Hyde: Big Birthday Bash by Frank Cammuso

I really enjoyed the first Salem Hyde book, enough that I'll break my rule of never reviewing sequels and review this one!

Salem and her cat Whammy (he's a companion, not a pet, thankyouverymuch) sorted out much of the growing pains of their initial meeting and relationship in the first book, so now they can relax into their latest adventure...birthday drama! Salem's first misadventure, on the very first page, is a hint at what's going to happen later on in the story and the lesson she learns; bigger isn't always better.

Salem's best friend is having a birthday party and Salem just has to get him the perfect gift. And what is the perfect gift? Why, the one that will show up snooty Shelly of course! When Shelly makes fun of Edgar and his party, Salem tries to cheer him up by making it the BIGGEST party ever! But bigger isn't always better...or is it?

The art in the first book was black and white with touches of green shades; as you can guess from the cover, this book's second shade is pink. The art is classic cartoon style with exaggerated expressions, Looney Tune eyes, and lots of wild gestures. Cammuso shows just how effect black and white art with just a blush of color can be as he tells a fun story with a light touch.

The plot of the birthday and Salem's "lesson" is sidetracked continually by Salem's misadventures, shopping observations, and finally the surprise twist of Edgar's reaction to the birthday spell, but it's all in good fun. Beginning reader's will have a giggle over this quick read and comic fans will enjoy a little light relief.

Verdict: Fans of Calvin and Hobbes will enjoy the snarky sidekick and skilled comic art; fans of Jill Thompson's Magic Trixie will enjoy the magical mishaps; fans of Babymouse will like the friendship and school trials of Salem, not to mention the suspicious teacher. There's plenty in this quick read to enjoy and it's definitely worth adding to your library collection although it's not a stand-alone and you'll need to purchase the first volume if you haven't already.

ISBN: 9781419710254; Published 2014 by Amulet/Abrams; Purchased for the library

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