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Marty Pants #1: Do Not Open! Hardcover – May 2, 2017
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“Funny and engaging. Marty Pants is a surefire hit!” -Lincoln Peirce, author of Big Nate (Lincoln Peirce, New York Times-bestselling creator of Big Nate)
“This cartoonish novel is an easy pick for reluctant readers.” (School Library Journal)
“Off the Mark cartoonist Parisi’s prose-and-cartoon series kickoff is a winner.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Along with useful new vocabulary, readers will find gags and misadventures aplenty to chortle over, plus a likable, if unusually clueless, everylad who comes away a winner.” (Booklist)
“Parisi’s b&w cartoons are meant to be Marty’s work, and both text and art deliver zingers, pratfalls, and running gags that will keep kids laughing.” (Publishers Weekly)
Top customer reviews
His 9 year old brother is anxious to start reading it.
This book, though, walks the line perfectly. Marty is an artist, smart, and observant, except when he isn't. The setup is that Marty receives a note warning him that he's being observed by an alien. SPOILER. For the rest of the book he suspects the wrong people, misinterprets every clue, and mistakes the meaning of everything he sees and hears, even while the alien's identity becomes obvious.
There are a couple of fun things going on here. First, a younger reader will, at some point, wise up to Marty's error and then enjoy being more on top of things than Marty is. The reader has to do a lot of painless reasoning and dot-connecting as he reads, probably without even realizing what he's doing. Marty suspects his teacher, (which is a knowing nod to all of those alien teacher books), but it will become clear to the reader that Marty's on the wrong track. It can be fun to figure things out before the main character does.
Beyond that, though, Marty is a very appealing character. He isn't a know-it-all or a whiner or sarcastic. He's a really bright, decent kid who's just a little delusional and never really too full of himself. As a result, he gets to make a lot of funny comments and perceptive throw-away observations without ever being annoying. On top of that, the author has surrounded Marty with some fine supporting characters. The Mom and Dad are O.K., and get a few good lines. Marty's annoying best friend is traditional, but not overdone. Marty's older sister is decent, and apart from some funny sibling friction, she's solid, (which I like in a kid book). Finally, Marty gets a gal pal, Parker, who wants to be a psychiatrist and is always there to analyze Marty. She gets a load of dry, deadpan funny lines and is often the stable center around which Marty revolves.
The illustrations are amusing and help move the story along. The neat plotting is sharp and tidy, the lead character is engaging, and the dialogue is witty and often fairly sophisticated. (This book has a vocabulary that's way beyond what one usually sees in books of this type for this reading age, and I don't see why a book can't be silly and yet still sometimes challenging.)
The upshot for me was that this book was funnier, more engaging, and more overall enjoyable than I suspected it would be at the outset. If anything, it picks up energy and appeal as it proceeds, which is often not the case. So, a nice all around find.
(Please note that I received a free advance will-self-destruct-in-x-days Adobe Digital copy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)