David Neilsen. Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom. (Yearling, 2017)
“What a nice man is Dr.Fell.” He gave all us children the most spectacular playground. He heals all our boo-boos, he has hundreds of pictures of cute and cuddly kittens all over his house… and he raises the dead. What a nice man is Dr. Fell.
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Gordon Korman. Super Gifted. (Balzer + Bray, 2018)
In Schooled, Korman showed us a kid who belonged anywhere but public school thrown into a suburban middle school. In Ungifted, Korman showed us a kid designed for public school, thrust into a gifted and talented school. Now, in Super Gifted, that kid is back in public school, and he brought along someone whom nobody could imagine anywhere but the gifted and talented school. In each story, the power of one kid’s inner identity is pitted against the overwhelming pressure of belonging, with increasingly hilarious consequences.
I’ve often tried to explain why Korman seems to click with middle-grade readers. I’ve said it before, the man is twelve years old, and twelve-year-olds buy anything he’s selling. But I think I see it more clearly now. Korman knows how to write earnest, and kids being psychological purists understand earnest. Korman can write from multiple, and very different, points of view, and still make you believe every kid means every word he says.
See my review at: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2317462841