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Amulet. (Garbage Pail Kids: Bk. 1). Sept. 2020. 208p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781419743610.
Gr 3-5–Stine kicks off his latest collaboration with the Garbage Pail Kids at Smellville Middle School. The Kids manage to survive the pitfalls of middle school but have somehow tipped off Peter and Patty Perfect. The Perfect parents take an interest in the Garbage Pail Kids’ parentless state and decide to do something about it. The Kids are challenged to come up with their own choice for parents before they are forced into the parent choice made by the bossy Perfect family. With characters like Junkfood John, Rob Slob, and Cranky Frankie, this will appeal to kids with the corniest sense of humor. While flat characters, lack of diversity, and the flippant plot will turn off many readers, fans of Dan Gutman’s “My Weird School” series or Dav Pilkey’s “Captain Underpants” may appreciate the zany humor. Black-and-white illustrations peppered through the narrative enhance the tale. Extras such as Brainy Janey’s history quiz and superhero comics by Johnny Pantsfalldown lend a little variety to the text.
VERDICT A secondary purchase if one has a large crowd of zany schoolhouse series fans.

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