Monday, October 24, 2011

Review: Fly Guy vs. The Flyswatter by Tedd Arnold (Cybils Nominee)

by Tedd Arnold
2011 | 32 pages | Easy Reader 

In this tenth Fly Guy adventure, Buzz sneaks his pet fly into his pocket for a school field trip, only to discover the class is visiting a fly swatter factory! Fly Guy does his best to remain hidden until a man dressed as a flyswatter calls flies nasty and demonstrates flyswatting on an actual fly! Fly Guy freaks out, and flies to the rescue, prompting the entire class to build a statue in his honor out of their souvenir fly swatters.

This zany series is one of the most popular in my library. They are almost always checked out, or found lying around in the many random places kids curl up to read. While I am not really a fan of the series, I appreciate the enthusiasm they generate and encourage kids who haven't read them yet to give them a try. I definitely see the appeal of the format, which is very reminiscent of comics and graphic novels that some of the older kids read, and the humor is just right for early elementary school kids.

This particular book is especially fun because it sets up the worst case scenario for Fly Guy and plays out the consequences in the funniest possible way. Fly Guy has always been the hero of this series, but the plot of this book is especially clever and cements the truly remarkable nature of Buzz's special little fly.

This story reminded me quite a bit of another pet/field trip scenario gone awry - the scene from The Best Seat in Second Grade when Sam brings the hamster to the museum. Best Seat takes a more reality-based approach, however, while Fly Guy vs. the Flyswatter remains true to its cartoonish, fun-loving nature, which makes reading an adventure and a comedy all in one.

I read Fly Guy vs. Flyswatter at my local Barnes & Noble store.

NOTE: This book was nominated by Laura Wadley for the 2011 Cybils Awards in the Easy Reader/Early Chapter Book category. I am a first-round panelist in this category, but this review reflects my opinions only, not those of any other panelist, or the panel as a whole. Thanks!


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