of view without giving away secrets that will
keep readers guessing for quite a while: Who
is the mastermind continually undermining
Cam’s plans, and who is Cam’s online nemesis, known as Evil McKillPeople? Korman
makes comedy look deceptively easy in this
page-turner of a chapter book, which features
a strangely sympathetic character in a memorable predicament. —Carolyn Phelan
The Worst Night Ever.
By Dave Barry. Illus. by Jon Cannell.
Apr. 2016. 256p. Disney/Hyperion, $13.99
(9781484708507). Gr. 5–8.
In this follow-up to The Worst Class Trip
Ever (2015), Barry brings back Wyatt Palmer,
the inadvertent hero who saved the president.
Now in high school, Wyatt lobs off plenty of
funny observations about school life, pesky
sisters, bullies who look like Hollister models, and a best friend (Matt) with a ferret.
When the Bevin brothers (of the Hollister
good looks) take the ferret hostage, it is up to
Wyatt to get it back. Naturally, things don’t
go smoothly as Wyatt and Matt infiltrate the
Bevins’ backyard, where they discover a trove
of dangerous, exotic, and illegal animals. Barry
blends zaniness with classic Florida mystery,
incorporating greedy developers, loopy environmentalists, and a dastardly scheme that
needs to be stopped before anyone gets hurt
by, among other things, a raging Komodo
dragon. The action, climaxing on Halloween
night at the zoo, is a romp for readers who
enjoy wise-cracking characters who are a little
larger than life. —Karen Cruze
HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Name recognition plus an author tour will give Barry’s
new middle-grade comedy a large, eager
audience. Have plenty on hand.
Are You the Pirate Captain?
By Gareth P. Jones. Illus. by Garry
Mar. 2016. 32p. Lerner, $17.99 (9781512404272).
First mate Hugh is getting his pirate ship
ready for an adventure, and though the crew
is ready to take off, they are missing one very
important thing: a captain. As the rest of the
crew wonders who will step up to the plate,
Hugh spies potential candidates and asks, “Are
you the Pirate Captain?” But each piratical
feature—a hook for a hand, a parrot perched
on a shoulder, a big braided beard—turns out
to be something else entirely. Page turns reveal
Hugh’s mistaken assumptions—the hook is
a coat hanger, the beard is a costume, and so
on—which adds a lively bit of comedy. But in
a sweet turn, when the crew puts their heads
together to appoint a captain, Hugh is in for a
big surprise. Parsons’ jaunty, full-color acrylic
illustrations provide lots of fun and cartoonish detail, and they are a clever companion to
This year’s top 10 humor titles, reviewed in Booklist between February 15, 2015, and February 1, 2016, have something for everyone, from the jaded teen to the manic preschooler who loves fart
jokes. Whatever the shape of your funny bone, get ready to laugh.
The Astounding Broccoli Boy. By Frank Cottrell Boyce. 2015. HarperCollins/Walden Pond, $16.99 (9780062400178). Gr. 4–7.
Rory and his gang have all mysteriously turned green. They must warn the world! First,
though, they befriend a penguin; then they lead the police in a capricious chase.
The Great American Whatever. By Tim Federle. 2016. Simon & Schuster, $17.99
(9781481404099). Gr. 9–12.
Though the premise seems serious—16-year-old Quinn is struggling after the death of
his sister—Federle keeps the story wry, whimsical, and unfailingly funny.
Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible. By Ursula Vernon. Illus. by the author. 2015.
Dial, $12.99 (9780803739833). Gr. 3–6.
Spunky, slightly bonkers Princess Harriet the hamster is cursed, but until her curse
kicks in, she’s convinced she’s invincible. What an ideal time for some rascally adventures!
Lumberjanes, v. 1. By Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis. Illus. by Shannon Watters and
Brooke Allen. 2015. Boom! Studios, $14.99 (9781608866878). Gr. 6–9.
At a camp for “hard-core lady types,” the Lumberjanes embark on a manic cartoon adventure full of mystery-solving, bad-guy-bludgeoning fun.
Newt’s Emerald. By Garth Nix. 2015. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen, $18.99
(9780062360045). Gr. 8–11.
Part comedy of manners, part fantasy adventure, the story of Lady Truthful Newington
and the stolen family emerald is full of witty rapport, mistaken identities, and lighthearted
The Princess and the Pony. By Kate Beaton. Illus. by the author. 2015. Scholastic, $17.99
(9780545637084). K–Gr. 2.
Princess Pinecone is a tiny warrior who wants a mighty steed. Instead, she gets a
dopey, goggle-eyed, farting pony. Will her pudgy mount bring her victory? Spoiler: yes,
Pugs of the Frozen North. By Philip Reeve. Illus. by Sarah McIntyre. 2016. Random,
$12.99 (9780385387965). Gr. 3–5.
Imagine it: 66 pugs in sweaters, pulling a dog sled. Add in a feisty pair of kid mushers,
noodle-loving yetis, and a touching conclusion, and you’ve got a winning tale rich in humor and heart.
Rude Cakes. By Rowboat Watkins. Illus. by the author. 2015. Chronicle, $16.99
(9781452138510). PreS–Gr. 1.
Some cakes have simply atrocious manners, and they get their comeuppance in an
unexpected and absurdly hilarious fashion. Whimsical illustrations add to the glee.
Under a Pig Tree: A History of the Noble Fruit. By Margie Palatini. Illus. by Chuck Groenink. 2015. Abrams, $16.95 (9781419714887). K–Gr. 2.
The gag is tiny—a typo turns figs to pigs—but Palatini and Groenink take it to uproarious heights, thanks to over-the-top red-pencil scrawls and outlandish, deadpan
Waylon! One Awesome Thing. By Sara Pennypacker. Illus. by Marla Frazee. 2016. Disney/
Hyperion, $15.99 (9781484701522). Gr. 2–4.
Alternately laugh-out-loud funny and melt-your-heart tender, Pennypacker’s latest tells
the story of Waylon, a quirky, science-obsessed boy who cleverly brings his fractured
class back together.
TOP 10 HUMOROUS NOVELS
Continued on p. 84