King of the Mole People

Holt. (King of the Mole People: Bk. 1). Aug. 2019. 272p. Tr $13.99. ISBN 9781250171344.
Gr 3-6–Doug Underbelly just wants to be an ordinary kid. This is not an easy task—he lives in a graveyard, has a dad who cooks nothing but eels, and spends his time avoiding the weird goth girl next door, who happens to be the only one who wants anything to do with him. Well, aside from the Mole People: an underground group of tunnel dwellers not to be confused with furry little mammals. When Doug is unwillingly crowned king of the Mole People, his life gets even more confusing and grubby (literally) as his subjects try to fix his unpopular life—and, of course, cause even more trouble. It’s only when Doug embraces his weirdness and comes up with a solution for the Giant Worm Problem that he finally realizes it’s OK not to be like everyone else. Cartoon drawings by the author add to the book’s quirky appeal. There’s even a little character growth here for anyone who happens to be looking.
VERDICT This is an extremely strange story, filled with sly humor and featuring a relatable narrator for any kid who’s ever felt like a total loser. Will appeal to those who enjoy Max Brallier’s “Last Kids on Earth” series or Obert Skye’s “Geeked Out” books

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