What's new, what's cool: Dear Dumb Diary'
By Jennifer Tobia
Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service
An entertainment or product review - anything from books and video games to
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"Dear Dumb Diary," by Jim Benton (Scholastic, $4.99).
Middle-schooler Jamie Kelly is mad. She's mad at Angeline, the most popular and prettiest girl in the world (or at least in Mackerel Middle School).
Jamie is mad at the fact that she has to go to middle school in the first place. She's mad at her disapproving parents, and mad at Hudson Rivers (the eighth cutest guy in her grade) for not noticing her. Her only hope is to console in her diary, the one place where she can spill her heart out and draw pictures of how things really look.
"Dear Dumb Diary" (Scholastic, $4.99) by Jim Benton is a look at Jamie's life in her own words. Her adventures include avoiding trouble (or getting into it) with her partner in crime, Isabella; rating people on a "Loser"
scale; dealing with crazy cafeteria monitor Miss Bruntford; and observing and caring for her dog Stinker.
You'll laugh out loud at what this girl has to say.
From Our Editors The Barnes & Noble Review
The hilarious author of the Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist books zaps fans with another new series, this time about a girl braving the trials and tribulations of middle school. Told in knee-slapping diary entries, the first installment of Jamie Kelly's tales begins as "the worst thing that can happen to you in middle school" almost occurs: getting a nasty nickname (for all of you uneducated souls out there). From there, Jamie goes on to describe a schoolmate's misfortune of using ChocoMint lip smacker; her interest in almost-hunk boy Hudson Rivers; and most of all her unkind feelings toward Angeline, a pretty blonde girl who Jamie's sure is "scorpion-like" beneath her sweet exterior. But when a mysterious culprit smacks the school's cafeteria monitor in her "neck blubber" with meatloaf, Jamie takes the heat and winds up almost-pals with Angeline. Jim Benton delivers a wonderfully silly series that combines his knack for knowing what kids love to read with fun illustrations. Young audiences will eat up Jamie's diary descriptions of stealing Angeline's hair out of the wastebasket, her "glazed" cousin, and just about every other crazy event that happens, while parents are sure to see their kids beg for more Dumb Diary books. As the subtitle suggests, we can pretend this never happened, but in reality we're sure happy it did. Shana Taylor