Class B.U.R.P.

Class B.U.R.P. illus. by Jason Week. 288p. (The Barftastic Life of Louie Burger: Bk. 2). Farrar. 2014. Tr $13.99. ISBN 9780374305215.
Gr 4–6—Fifth-grade jokester Louie Burger has a killer sense of humor, but that doesn't preclude him from being a B.U.R.P. (Boy Used to Ridicules and Put-Downs). He gets a temporary boost in popularity when a national comedy program features a video of him vomiting at the school talent show. But once the novelty wears off, Louie reverts to being the punching bag for resident bully Ryan Rakeman. Louie's two good friends, Nick and Thermos, help him put up with the teasing, but he wants to find a way to permanently boost his popularity so that Ryan will back off for good. Being the leader of the school Halloween parade seems like a good start, so Louie gets to work on his campaign to win this coveted title. Unfortunately, his desperate attempts to attain popularity cause him to neglect his true friends. This second installment is rife with doctored adjectives like "barftacular," as well as corny jokes and references to comedy legends like Charlie Chaplin. The ample illustrations are reminiscent of Calvin and Hobbes and should grab the attention of reluctant readers and "Wimpy Kid" fans alike. The book is on the long side for a story that's relatively slight—multiple side plots bog down the action—but the right readers will stick with it. Give this one to kids or educators who are looking for anti-bullying stories, as well as to young comedy buffs.—Amy Holland, Irondequoit Public Library, NY
While trying to be popular and win the race for "class marshal" of the school Halloween parade, ten-year-old Louie, "Boy Used to Ridicule and Put-downs" (B.U.R.P), is bullied and nearly forgets his true friends. Louie is a sympathetic character, and gross-out humor and cartoon illustrations will appeal to the intended audience; references to old comedians (Chaplin, Keaton), however, may puzzle those readers.

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