Super Dweeb and the Pencil of Destiny

Arcturus. (Super Dweeb: Bk. 1). Jun. 2021. 64p. pap. $5.99. ISBN 9781398802452.
Gr 3-6–With great magic pencil power comes great magic pencil responsibility. Andy is a talented artist who can draw nearly anything (except hands)—but he’s also bullied by classmates, who call him a dweeb. But new kid Mona sticks up for Andy when he’s being picked on by Mean Mike. On a field trip to Fallout Island, a run-in with a squirrel and a barrel of blootonium transforms Andy’s pencil into a gigantic magical implement, capable of bringing anything it draws to life. When the pencil is stolen, Andy and his friends must work together to prevent total destruction. Plus, friendship blossoms between Mona and Andy. At first Mona tries to hide her love of comics and other supposedly “dweeby” interests, but the two new pals are soon sharing their passion for Gamma Guys fanfiction via the Splat Chat messaging platform. The book combines a traditional text format with comic-style panels, in full color and with a sketchbook feel. The fast-paced action and absurd humor make this an easy sell to reluctant readers. Being different is never portrayed as negative, despite the Mean Mikes of the world, and positive messages about the importance of teamwork and responsibility are laced throughout the tale. Andy and his family are Black, and Mona is pale-skinned with black hair.
VERDICT An exciting new series for fans of “Captain Underpants” or “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”

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