Thursday, March 13, 2014

George Brown Class Clown

Titles:  12 including Super Burp (#1) and Trouble Magnet (#2)

Author:  Nancy Krulik

Rating:  *  (1 star out of 3 possible, "C")
             Recommended with Reservations

Audience:  1st-2nd Graders

This series is an option for families who are looking for easier chapter books that are funny and engaging, without being too tasteless or thoughtless.  I realize the word "burp" appears in the first title, but George Brown's Super Burp problem presents mostly harmless fun.  Hilarious plots develop while the main character tries desperately to control his new power.

George sincerely wants to stay out of trouble and not be a class clown.  He's the new kid at Edith B. Sugarman School and he's finding it hard enough to move and make new friends without added complications.  After he wishes on a shooting star ("I want to make kids laugh, but not get in trouble") while drinking a root beer float he's overcome by a powerful new force:  a Super Burp that causes him to do crazy, goofy things, like dancing on the tables at the ice cream shop!

Gradually, George learns to suppress the Super Burp, for short periods.  But eventually that burp's gotta go somewhere, and George finds himself in some silly predicaments with a few consequences and a lot of apologies.  Plots revolve around typical elementary school situations such as science projects, bullies and head lice.

Considering the books mainly appeal to boys, families will find a few tasteless details in the stories.  Words like "snot" and "butt" occur occasionally, but not gratuitously.  One kid's hero is Toilet Man ("I'll flush away bad guys!").  Another kid states "Egg salad smells like the bathroom after my dad's been in there a long time."  On the whole, George models positive choices and attitudes.  His family is engaged and supportive.  And his Super Burps make a lot of read-aloud fun for your family.

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