Henry Hubble's Book of Troubles

illus. by Andy Myer. 160p. Delacorte. Feb. 2015. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780385744393; lib. ed. $18.99. ISBN 9780375991646; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780385385268.
Gr 5–8—Henry Hubble is yet another hapless kid with a pen and notebook who records his daily misadventures in words and drawings. The sixth grader's claim to fame is that a distant relative lived next door to former President William H. Harrison. Harrison's dog would do its business in the distant relative's yard, which is why Henry is in possession of a fossilized piece of dog poo from the 1800s. This is, perhaps, what makes Henry most memorable—which isn't necessarily a good thing. As one might expect from a kid whose prized possession is a piece of feces, things often go wrong. Most of Henry's journal entries are descriptions of some embarrassing experience, like the disastrous school field trip where he vomits in the hotel swimming pool. There's a vague over-arching plot thread about a bully stealing Henry's journal and using it to embarrass him and then Henry's triumphant (if somewhat corny and cliched) retaliation. He's an aspiring cartoonist, so his journal is peppered with rudimentary line drawings reminiscent of Quentin Blake's artwork. He also admires Shel Silverstein, so corny poems are a staple of his writing. Henry's material is funny at times, but it mostly comes off as derivative. Indeed, the tone and writing style are such that Henry could be Greg Heffley's less-funny cousin. Ultimately, this is a forgettable entry in the already over-crowded genre of goofy, diary-format books.—Amy Holland, Irondequoit Public Library, NY
Eleven-year-old Henry, a struggling poet and artist, tends to struggle in every other aspect of life, too. This journal, filled with poems and black-and-white cartoons (he aspires to be the next Shel Silverstein), illuminates his chaotic, socially awkward early-adolescence. A somewhat contrived addition to the diary-format genre that will nonetheless keep fans in stitches with bathroom humor and unrelenting goofiness.

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