In January’s reviews you will find a group of kids who have to look for happiness outside of their comfort zones. They all must take some kind of risk to do what is right for themselves or for other for whom they are responsible. As they struggle, they find that a little humor and help from someone who cares goes a long way.
Befiddled by Pedro de Alcantara
Becky Cohen is a 13-year-old who has it rough everywhere. She doesn’t fit in at school, with other kids, at her group violin lesson, and can’t seem to please her mother. She loves music more than anything, but doesn’t possess the confidence or the means to hire someone who can help her move the music in her head to her violin strings. Her biggest fan and ally is her brother, Benjy. Becky’s life changes one day when she meets the building supervisor, who begins to teach Becky how to play the violin with passion and find confidence in her life. From lessons taken from incidents in her life (including a dog chasing a Frisbee and a haircut), Becky prepares to face her fear and enter a scholarship contest. Winning this contest could provide the avenue to all her dreams coming true. I loved this book; especially Benjy’s monthly paper that he writes — it made me laugh.
Babymouse: Queen of the World by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Babymouse is a junior high mouse who faces the same problems as most adolescents; friends, enemies, homework, and getting her locker open. Her arch enemy is Felicia Furrypaws, who is extremely popular, talented, and a VERY big bully. Babymouse’s best friend is a loyal, steady weasel named Wilson.
Babymouse finds herself vying for the coveted invitation to Felicia’s birthday party in hopes that she will gain popularity and status. But when she shows up at the party, she finds out that being Felicia’s friend does not make her Queen of the World, as she supposed. Written in comic form, this book is both funny and interesting. Babymouse has a great imagination and shows us all that things are never as dramatic as they first seem.
Babymouse: Our Hero by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Book two in the Babymouse comics shows the heroine returning to face getting to school on time, forgotten homework, her lost sneakers, and her enemy Felicia Furrypaws in a vicious game of dodgeball. With the help of her weasel friend Wilson, she practices up for the big dodgeball game, and slips through by the skin of her teeth thanks to … her socks? I loved both of the Babymouse books, which are easy to read and laugh-out-loud fun.
Nicky Deuce: Welcome to the Family by Steven R. Schirripa and Charles Fleming
When Nicky’s summer camp plans are thwarted by a septic tank explosion, he is sent to spend time with his grandmother in Brooklyn. As Nicky arrives in Brooklyn, he realizes that his father’s childhood was very different from his own and even starts to like the Italian life much better. It seems as if the members of the Italian community in Brooklyn are hiding something, and Nicky feels like his uncle is not what he seems as well. Nicky makes friends with a local boy and finds himself involved in less-than-honest errands for a group of thieves. When Nicky and his friend Tommy find themselves in more trouble than they can handle, you will not believe who comes to their rescue.