In a book that mimics Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series both in scope and design, seventh-grader Danny is trying to navigate choppy middle-school waters. "I'm about halfway down the food chain," he explains. "Not president of the Mathletes, but no one's saving me a seat at the Cool Table. I can't afford a lot of slippage." After the budding comics artist refuses to hand over his beloved drawing pen to a classmate, she adds his and his friend Jasper's names to the "Loser List" scribbled on the girls' bathroom wall. Danny's attempt to eradicate their names lands him in detention, where he finds an unlikely ally in school bully Axl, which alienates Danny from Jasper, among other complications. The story unfolds in a handwritten-looking font on lined pages amid ample spot illustrations. Danny's cartoons, sidebars, and lists ("Top Three Signs You're Going to Summer School") should enhance the book's appeal for reluctant readers. The design of Kowitt's (The Sweetheart Deal) story ought to attract Wimpy Kid fans, and the book's "be yourself" message makes it a more earnest alternative. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC
Gr 4-7--Danny Shine is having a rough time in middle school. He is a geek with a penchant for upsetting bullies, which is how his name ends up on The Loser List in the girls' bathroom. Things start looking up, though, when he miraculously befriends the biggest bully of all. Unfortunately, this friendship comes with a price, and Danny soon finds himself in a lot of trouble. Can he find his way out before everyone hates him? This is an adequate book that's trying to fill the "Wimpy Kid" (Abrams) niche. However, Danny is a better role model than Greg Heffley, as he is less self-centered and more concerned with doing what is right, but the book itself comes off as a blatant knockoff. The biggest difference between the two is the lack of parental involvement in The Loser List, which is a little odd when considering the character. Kids looking for a good "Wimpy Kid" read-alike should consider Lincoln Peirce's "Big Nate" chapter books (HarperCollins) instead, but fans of the format will be content. This is strictly an additional purchase.--Elizabeth Swistock, Jefferson Madison Regional Library, Charlottesville, VA[Page 177]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.