Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic
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Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic

4.5 2
by Mark Tatulli

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Meet Desmond Pucket--master of mayhem! Will his monster-y special effects pranks get him kicked out of middle school before the class trip to Crab Shell Pier? Or will Desmond be able to keep his monster magic in check?

This is a compelling new character that kids will love!

"Tatulli's entry into the comics/fiction--hybrid market is one of the


Meet Desmond Pucket--master of mayhem! Will his monster-y special effects pranks get him kicked out of middle school before the class trip to Crab Shell Pier? Or will Desmond be able to keep his monster magic in check?

This is a compelling new character that kids will love!

"Tatulli's entry into the comics/fiction--hybrid market is one of the best…The target audience will snap this up and beg for more."

---Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"This is full of ghoulish fun, and fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid probably won't want to miss it."
---School Library Journal

"Desmond Pucket neatly fills a gap for our readers---it's a step more sophisticated than Diary of a Wimpy Kid but appeals to that reader. It's also so great to have a Halloween/monster/scary stuff series to offer boys that is not Goosebumps."
---Rebecca Waesch, Children's Product Manager, Joseph-Beth Booksellers
Meet Desmond Pucket---professor of frightology and master of monsters.

Someday Desmond will be famous for his special effects wizardry, but for now he's just trying to make it through sixth grade at Cloverfield Memorial Junior High, which means he needs to stay one step ahead of the school's disciplinary officer, Mr. Needles.

The only problem is Desmond just can't stop pulling pranks---like the time he attached a shrieking rubber goblin to the toilet seat in the teachers' bathroom. Mrs. Rubin screamed so loudly her wig flew off! Or the time he put giant motorized worms into the mashed potatoes in the cafeteria. Or the time Desmond and his best friend, Ricky, arranged for a three-headed ghost to crash his sister's slumber party. Rachel still hasn't forgiven him.

And now Desmond has to stay prank-free for the rest of the year, or he won't be able to go on the class trip to Crab Shell Pier, home of the Mountain Full of Monsters ride! It's going to be tough, but Desmond has to try.

This book includes a section of "Desmond's Notes": instructions for making monster magic (think scary noises, or fake blood) at home!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Tatulli, creator of the syndicated comics Heart of the City and Lio, jumps to Wimpy Kid–style illustrated fiction with the story of self-described “Gourmet of Gore” Desmond Pucket. Like a budding Ray Harryhausen, Desmond loves nothing more than designing monstrous special effects. When readers meet him, he has awakened his mother in the middle of the night, complaining of a stomachache: “A large red stain spreads across my belly... and a slimy, multi-eyed, many fanged creature breaks out of my stomach with a screech, its tentacles jiggling and blood spurting from the gaping hole!” (“Are those the new pajamas I just bought you?” his mother sighs in the accompanying cartoon.) Despite Desmond’s flair for the dramatic, his life is grounded in reality: he joins a series of clubs to try to avoid expulsion, as well as qualify for a sixth-grade class trip. Tatulli’s sometimes-gruesome caricatures have the feel of George Booth by way of Ralph Steadman, and while the story’s jokes don’t always hit the mark, readers will walk away with plenty of mischievous ammunition. Ages 7–12. Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writers House. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"Mark Tatulli is one of my favorite cartoonists, and now he brings his delightfully warped comic sensibility to Desmond Pucket with a hilariously offbeat hero who will have kids howling. Desmond Pucket is a surefire hit and an absolute scream." (Lincoln Peirce)

"Desmond joins a long list of heroes who inspire me while making me hurry nervously out of the room. I salute Mark Tatulli! From a safe distance. Locked in a closet. With a stuffed animal for comfort." (Lemony Snicket)

(starred review) "Tatulli's entry into the comics/fiction-hybrid market is one of the best...The target audience will snap this up and bet for more." (Kirkus Reviews)

"It’s silly and fun and heartwarming all at once…a must read and a must add to any bookshelf for the grade 3-6 crowd." (Esther Keller, School Library Journal's "Good Comics for Kids" blog)

"Desmond’s school experience is very realistic and students, mostly boys, will be able to relate to his shenanigans and his journey of self-discovery.  Put this in the hands of reluctant readers and they will be asking for more." (Elyse DeQuoy, Library Media Connection)

"This is full of ghoulish fun, and fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid probably won’t want to miss it." (Esther Keller, School Library Journal's "Good Comics for Kids" blog)

"I think deep down we all have a Desmond Pucket inside us. You won’t be able to put this book down as you laugh your guts out!" (Avery, age 9, San Francisco Book Review)

"Desmond’s adversarial relationship with disciplinary officer Mr. Needles ranks right up there with Archie and Mr. Weatherbee for fun reading." (Kat Kahn, VOYA)

Children's Literature - Enid J. Portnoy
Readers are invited to meet this young professor of frightology who scares most of his classmates and teachers on his hysterical way through the sixth grade. Tatulli is a syndicated international cartoonist and author who wrote this book to begin a future series of "Pucket" stories for youthful readers. Not everyone appreciates Desmond Pucket as a creative prankster in his junior high school but clever cartoons that fill the pages will certainly entertain readers. Chapters are short and have such humorous titles as "Of Soccer and Sloppy Joes," "Desmond the Striped and Colorful," and "Oh, It's Bad." Children will bounce from filled pages of black and white cartoons and short text as Desmond falls into each disaster of his own making. Desmond has plenty of friends who support him, at least he thinks he has. They laugh at his tricks and help him plan more frightful situations for others to share. His love of monsters and all things frightening occurred when he was about seven. He was on a family trip to Dizzy World in Florida. After that trip he knew he wanted to share his attachment to scary things and monsters. However, no one was spared; not his teachers or his friends, or even his own family members. Desmond's dad confronted him by repeating the D-word in his lecture to him: "Desmond, I am very DISAPPOINTED in you!" Unfortunately, school officials also looked at his tricks harshly. They decide to punish Desmond by signing him up for extracurricular activities. How can Desmond get out of this predicament and get back in favor with teachers and his family? Wait until you see what ingenious plan he uses. First, it backfires, and second, it almost explodes, and then Desmond gets a terrific idea, even when he gets stuck participating in the school Drama Club activity show. Everyone is in for big surprises, especially Desmond and his teachers. Although the author says this book is only a preview of more to come, readers may be impatient to wait until they discover other frightening and monsterous ideas which Desmond will create next. Reviewer: Enid J. Portnoy
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Sixth-grader Desmond Pucket loves horror special effects. Goblins popping out of toilets, exploding zombie heads, and mass-media digital scares are what he lives for. He takes things too far, however, and is forced to give up his bloody ways. When he finally finds a niche and does well at a new, wholesome life, spooky, disgusting, slimy things start happening all over the school. Desmond is getting framed, and he has a good idea who is doing it: his best friend. Desmond is an interesting protagonist. He has all the trappings of a misunderstood troublemaker, but with a twist: he is truly a prodigy at something. Most of the story is focused on helping him find the proper venue and audience for his skill, rather than using it to cause disruptions. The book is chock-full of sketches in Desmond's "hand," and kids will like the drawings in another style that outline his big scares. The story is an enjoyable, if unexceptional, quick read. It will be most appealing to those already into "Big Nate," "The Diary of a Wimpy Kid," and James Patterson's Middle School: Get Me Out of Here! (Little, Brown, 2012).—Devin Burritt, Wells Public Library, ME
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-09-15
Desmond's monster magic pranks are excellent--but they might get him expelled. Sixth-grader Desmond Pucket loves to pull special-effects pranks: fake blood in the PTO's coffee cake, a goblin in the teacher's-lounge toilet, wiggling worms in the cafeteria mashed potatoes. However, Mr. Needles, head of the Cloverfield Memorial Junior High disciplinary office, has had enough. If Desmond doesn't participate successfully in one extracurricular activity, then Desmond is out. Getting expelled means missing the field trip to Crab Shell Amusement Pier and the chance to finally ride the awesome Mountain Full of Monsters thrill ride. Desmond finds just cleaning up his act won't cut it because someone's trying to frame him; can he find out who without losing his ticket to the amusement park? Tatulli's entry into the comics/fiction–hybrid market is one of the best. Desmond's discovery of the importance of being himself adds just the right amount of realism and depth to his tale…of course, "himself" is a prankster and troublemaker, so grown-ups might not appreciate this particular epiphany. Neither will they love the special-effects-prank instructions in the backmatter. The target audience will snap this up and beg for more. Colored illustrations and comics plus the whacked, gross humor and glow-in-the-dark cover make this a must. Sequel promised. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 9-12)

Product Details

Andrews McMeel Publishing
Publication date:
Desmond Pucket Series, #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
7 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

 Mark Tatulli is an internationally syndicated cartoonist best known for his popular comic strips Heart of the City, which chronicles a fun-loving, tenacious little girl's adventures in the big city of Philadelphia, and Lio, which tells the adventures of a young boy and his pet squid. In addition to cartooning, Tatulli is an accomplished filmmaker and animator, and the recipient of three Emmy Awards. He lives in New Jersey with his wife, Donna, three children, and three nefarious cats, all of whom supply endless ideas for his books.

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Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
GratefulGrandma More than 1 year ago
Desmond Pucket and his friend Ricky love to play practical jokes involving special effects. Over the year they have put blood balloons in cake, worms in the mashed potatoes and others. Mr. Needles is the school disciplinarian. He knows Desmond is behind all the mayhem, but he is unable to prove it. He watches him like a hawk. When Desmond decides to play the best pranks ever at his sister's sleeover it backfires. Mr. Needles daughter is hurt and he goes to "The Board". Fortunately, Desmond's mother intervenes and he is given 3 more changes. He must participate in the dreaded "extracurricular activities". He is given the option of 3 clubs, AV, School newspaper or drama club. As he strikes out in each one, he panics. He is in danger of losing the privilege of attending the school fieldtrip. When pranks start to happen on the set of the school drama presentaion, Desmond sets out to investigate because he is being blamed. What happens next changes the boring school production into the best they have ever seen. A fun story that kids will love. I like the end of the book where they give the recipes and directions to the reader for some of Desmond's tricks. The children will love that.
CanadaInker4 More than 1 year ago
Let me introduce you to Desmond Pucket.  His dad is a well-respected dentist and his mom often has to go to bat for him to save him from ... well himself.  Why would she need to do that you ask?  Well you see Desmond is the master of mayhem. He refers to himself as the Professor of Frightology, with a Masters in Monsters.  He specializes in pulling off pranks and is a genius at creating and executing special effects that give everyone a fright.   His career goal is to design the most amazing and scariest amusement park on the planet when he grows up.  He is on the verge of getting suspended from his middle school just before the coveted class trip to Crab Shell Pier.  He wants so much to go there because that is the home of the Mountain Full of Monsters Ride!   He teams up with his best buddy Ricky and together they become pranksters extraordinaire much to the despair of his big sister (he and Ricky pulled off a doozy prank at her sleepover) and the staff at Cloverfield Junior High.  He attaches a shrieking rubber goblin in the toilet seat in the staff washroom and Mrs. Rubin was the unlucky teacher who discovered it.  She screams and fusses so much her wig falls off.  He plants giant motorized worms into the mashed potatoes in the cafeteria causing quite a ruckus on the scene.  Although his genius brain keeps coming up with the next best prank, alas he finally gets exposed by Mr. Needles, the disciplinarian at the school.  His punishment?  Thanks to his mom, who does a prankster intervention, he is not suspended but has to attend three extra-curricular activities and keep his nose clean if he is to stay in school and attend the field trip that is fast approaching.   Can Desmond do it?  Can he walk the straight and narrow path and put his pranks aside?  You will have to get this book and find out.   This great book is full of fantastic comics with captions and humour that you child will really love.  Hilarious pranks and experiments pulled off by Desmond and friends will have your child rolling in laughter.   The book includes a section at the end of &quot;Desmond's Notes&quot; which are instructions for making monster magic (scary noises, or fake blood) right in your own home.  Now what child wouldn't love that add-on?  The witty text and cartoon pictures are a perfect combination and the theme of the book perfectly timed for Halloween.  Highly recommended, a winner for sure.