The Doodles of Sam Dibble

J. Press, illus. by Michael Kline. Grosset & Dunlap, $4.99 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-0-448-46107-6
This new chapter book series, aimed at audiences not quite ready for the Wimpy Kid, stars a third grader who’s an indifferent student but a passionate doodler. Sam’s fervent wish is to have Demolition Dan, “the world’s greatest wrestler,” as the main attraction at his birthday party—he’s pretty much promised the kids at school that it’s a done deal. Complicating the picture is a beloved grandfather who likes to stretch the truth (“One time Grandpa told me he baked a cake for a king in Egypt. But then the king died so they had to bury him inside the cake”) and a nemesis, tattletale Max Baxter, whose father is dating Sam’s mother. Kline’s line drawings create a gleefully disorderly atmosphere (at one point, he draws a mustache and beard around Bluebeard the Pirate’s name), but they seldom feel like they’ve sprung from an elementary-schooler’s mind. Press works hard to woo her audience with shout-outs to farts, barf, boogers, and earwax, but the overall vibe is so benevolent that the character and his conflicts never really rev to life. Simultaneously available: Double Trouble. Ages 6–8. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/19/2012
Release date: 01/24/2013
Prebound-Glued - 113 pages - 978-0-606-29777-6
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