Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2013. 978-1449435486
Synopsis: Desmond loves monsters and special effects. Put the two together and you’ve got a recipe for success…or, as Desmond’s teachers see it, disaster. So when Desmond’s pranks get him in deep with the school, he’s got three chances to clean up his act or he’s going to be kicked off the school trip to Crab Shell Pier, home of the Mountain Full of Monsters ride. Desmond doesn’t want to hang up his title as ‘Gourmet of Gore’, but if it means he can still go on his favorite roller coaster, maybe he can keep it together long enough to get his teachers to believe he’s changed.
Why I picked it up: I liked Desmond Pucket and the Mountain Full of Monsters so much I wanted to go back and read the first book.
Why I finished it: Desmond is quirky, a little bit weird, and has a hobby that isn’t fully appreciated by the adults around him. It’s not his fault his skills aren’t praised at school. And even if his classmates aren’t thrilled at his antics, they are what make Desmond stand out from the crowd. It’s what readers like about the story: we relate to Desmond because we all have our own quirks and weirdness about us that isn’t always valued by our peers, but they are what make us unique and special. Plus, you have to give Desmond some major points for creativity. Not everyone could pull off a massive sleepover scare on their sister…even if he did get caught by his parents. I like that Tatulli blends the text with drawings and notes from Desmond’s notebook, not only because it draws the reader more into the story, but it gives us a better visual of the inner workings of his mind. The sketch-like style of the illustrations gives it a little bit of an edge, as though the pictures have been taken from an old horror movie reel. It gives our characters a sort of matter-of-fact air without being too cartoony or serious. It’s a great choice for a reluctant reader and keeps us laughing until the final pages.
Other related materials: Desmond Pucket and the Mountain Full of Monsters by Mark Tatulli; Lio’s Astonishing Tales: From the Haunted Crypt of Unknown Horrors by Mark Tatulli; The Odd Squad books by Michael Fry; Alien Invasion in my Backyard: An EMU Club Adventure by Ruben Bolling; George Brown, Class Clown by Nancy Krulik, illustrated by Aaron Blecha; My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish books by Mo O’Hara, illustrated by Marek Jagucki; Frank Einstein books by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Brian Biggs; Diary of a Sixth-Grade Ninja books by Marcus Emerson; Diary of a Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney; Big Nate books by Lincoln Peirce; Knights of the Lunch Table books by Frank Cammuso; Timmy Failure books by Stephen Pastis