My turn reviewing WEIRDO (#1) for Kidlit Exchange was basically “the ARC that launched a million book sales”.
Weir Do is actually the main character’s name, the worst since Mrs. Face called her son Butt.* The second-newest kid at school, he lives with his multi-cultural family whose mishaps cause comic misadventures with his two best friends (Bella the seventh-prettiest girl and Henry the dorkiest boy in the grade).
Here is why I was so annoyed that I had to pass on the first Weir Do, that I promptly bought WEIRDO #1 and WEIRDO #2 – EVEN WEIRDER for our family’s and my kids’ classroom libraries:
Confidence and Self-Esteem: Weir Do is klutzy, dorky, socially-awkward, wears his sister’s hand-me-down sneakers, and has the athleticism of a potted plant. The second-dorkiest kid in his class, he is never going to be a “cool kid” doesn’t want it for one second. absolutely embraces his wacky self.
Multiracial Main Character: Weir has a white mom (her maiden name was Weir) and a Vietnamese dad. Weir’s ethnic background is mentioned and obvious in the pictures, but the story doesn’t center around race. Diverse books where race is, and diverse books where race is not, central to the story are invaluable.
But that is another blog post.
As the mom of biracial bookworms who have complained about too many monoracial characters, this book was the jackpot.
Addictive and Hilarious storyline: My six-year-old, referred to as “Fancy Nancy” and probably the driving force behind the school’s new “no hair glitter or tiaras” line in the dress code, kept lifting the ARC. I caught her and my eight-year-old son taking turns reading it out loud to each other and rolling with laughter. To mail the ARC along to the next blogger, I had to take it from under my daughter’s pillow.
WEIRDO’s climax involves a roving booger, chocolate pudding, a toilet paper hat, and Barbie lice. EVEN WEIRDER’s climax involves multiple costumes ruined by toilet issues (Weir winds up safety-pinning a bunch of bags of chips to his clothes and declaring himself a vending machine, an easy costume I just might have to steal).
*Side note: I’ve noticed that in general people Kidlit authors from Anglophone countries without Puritan roots tend to push the envelope more on puerile humor. It’s always a major plus in my book, but to each his own.
Anh Do is Australian, and toilet humor abounds… in case the “bird pooping on Weir’s head / frog licking his eye” cover motifs didn’t make that obvious.