Two rival pranksters headline this boisterous series opener set in Yawnee Valley, “the cow capital of the United States, this side of the Mississippi, excluding a couple of towns that cheat.” Barnett (the Brixton Brothers series) and John (All My Friends Are Dead) are in perfect comic harmony, filling their story with exaggerated archetypes (the overbearing principal, the do-gooder), pranks gone awry, and wisecracking banter. On his first day at Yawnee Valley Science and Letters Academy, master trickster Miles is impressed that someone has moved Principal Barkin’s car to block the school entrance—and distressed that he wasn’t the perpetrator. Determined to establish his prankster dominance, Miles masterminds a huge birthday party—presents required—for a fictitious peer, who (somehow) shows up to wow the crowd and abscond with the gifts. Eventually, Miles finally forms a partnership with his unlikely nemesis to create a “secret society founded on mutual admiration and the joy of pranking.” Cornell’s (The Chicken Squad) b&w cartoons layer on the laughs, especially when portraying the megalomaniacal Principal Barkin, and Barnett and John’s deadpan writing lets Yawnee Valley’s absurdity shine. Ages 8–12. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/27/2014 Release date: 01/13/2015 Genre: Children's
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