cover image Benjamin Franklin: Huge Pain in My...!

Benjamin Franklin: Huge Pain in My...!

Alan Zweibel and Adam Mansbach, illus. by Neil Swaab. Disney-Hyperion, $12.99 (2

Zweibel (Our Tree Named Steve) and Mansbach (Go the F*** to Sleep) blend bathroom humor, postal time travel, and the indignities of seventh grade in this (mostly) epistolary novel. As part of a class assignment, Franklin "Ike" Saturday writes a letter to his namesake, Benjamin Franklin. Reverent, he is not. Calling Franklin a "stringy-haired old windbag," Ike goes on to say the Founding Father must have been drunk when he wrote "A stitch in time saves nine," before sharing a friend's recipe for Jungle Juice. Needless to say, Ike is shocked to receive a letter from Franklin in return, and he is even more surprised to hear that the man had many troubles of his own, whether it's being overshadowed by his fellow Founding Fathers or having "ample girth in areas where less would have sufficed, and a dearth in others." Wink, wink. It's clear that Ike is a good, well-meaning kid at heart, but readers will need an appetite for crass jokes, beer-stealing episodes, and vomiting on crushes to see it. Ages 10%E2%80%9314. Agent: (for Zweibel) Laura Nolan, Paradigm; (for Mansbach) Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (Sept.)