Friday, May 24, 2019

WeirDo by Anh Do and Jules Faber

Hmm. I've often asked for more Wimpy Kid-style books with non-white protagonists, but this... isn't quite what I was thinking of.

Weir Do (his first name was his mother's maiden name, his last name comes from his Vietnamese father) is starting third grade with a lot of strikes against him, not just his name. From teachers who can't help giggling during roll call, to his farting father, annoying little brother (who keeps slamming his "thing" in the toilet) Weir feels like a total weirdo. When his crush, the "seventh-best-looking girl in school" comes to visit, can he keep his weird family out of sight? Probably not.

This Australian import hits all the notes of crude potty humor, not fitting in at school, and copious notebook-novel style illustrations, but it also comes in heavily on stereotypes. Rating the attractiveness of girls, Weir's older sister humiliating him by telling everyone he's wearing hand-me-down girls' shoes, and so on. It's certainly not realistic that Weir's teacher laughs at his name (or that roll call is the first time she's seen it). I was also skeptical about Weir's crush - it definitely felt more middle school. Another odd note is that none of the kids seem to know what head lice are.

Verdict: Gender stereotypes and misogyny abound, plus copious helpings of crude humor. I'd skip this, even if you have rabid Captain Underpants and Andy Griffiths fans - there are lots of other options. Buy only if requested.

ISBN: 9781338305586; Published January 2019 by Scholastic; Borrowed from another library in my consortium


Ms. Yingling said...

Yep. I do like the French Wimpy Kid, My Life in Smiley. Pichon's British version, Tom Gates, is decent as well. Now I want the German and Italian versions!

Jennifer said...

I hoped to entice kids into reading the original notebook novel, the French Nicolas by Goscinny but alas, no takers. There was a hilarious Spanish one - Manolito Four-Eyes, but that never took off either.