Author: Bill Myers
The Incredible Worlds of Wally McDoogle, vol. 2
My rating: 4 of 5
It’s every kid’s dream, right? Get chosen to be in a movie, and instantly transform from all-school reject to everyone’s new best friend? When uber-klutz Wally McDoogle manages to land a role in an up-and-coming monster movie, his life certainly undergoes an extreme transformation. About the only person who doesn’t treat him differently is his best friend Opera . . . only Wally’s pretty sure he’s too cool to be seen around Opera anymore. The nerdiness may be catching, after all. But when the filming goes haywire (as it is so prone to do around him), Wally finds out just how valuable true friendship is–and how fleeting those “friendships” based on fame.
As with the first book in this series (My Life as a Smashed Burrito with Extra Hot Sauce), My Life as Alien Monster Bait is a great Christian middle-grade story that manages to teach important lessons without being stuffy or “preachy” in the slightest. Between Wally’s escapades, the offbeat stories he writes, and the quirky first-person writing, you’ve got a story that’s absurdly funny (even to an adult, but even more so as a kid). But in the midst of the humor, you’ve got some excellent lessons on pride, true friendship, and that more challenging concept to nail down–not treating people differently just because they have more fame or money or coolness points or whatever. Myers brings us a blatantly Christian story with solid life lessons . . . that’s also immensely enjoyable and laugh-inducing. Definitely recommended.
Author: Bill Myers
In a dream, Wally McDoogle is invited by a snazzy-dressing angel to a birthday party . . . for Jesus! When he wakes up, Wally does what he does best: fluster and bumble about causing mass chaos and maximum disaster. Unsure if the dream was for real, but unwilling to take the chance, Wally sets out to find the perfect gift . . . with a little help from his two best friends, Wall Street and Opera. Outcome: Mayhem, check. Perfect gift, not so much.
In the spirit of the season, I’m featuring a Christmas story this time. Not exactly your typical heartwarming, tear-jerking sort of story though. Although you may cry–from laughing too hard. As with all of Wally’s stories, My Life as Reindeer Roadkill is filled with hyperbolic humor, chaos, blunder . . . and a cool nugget of truth, ’cause y’know, you’ve got to have some sort of balance, right? This particular volume is a bit more direct (and blatantly Christian) about the message than some of the series, yet it still avoids being didactic or annoying about it. This story is particularly recommended for middle-school guys with a strong sense of humor, but also for anyone in need of a laugh over the chaos we make of the holidays–because the McDoogle family has it worse than you do!
Author: Bill Myers
What’s the harm in one little lie, right? Wally McDoogle finds out the hard way as his innocent little fib to one of his best friends snowballs. One disaster follows another, and soon Wally has the news, the school bully, the law, AND some save-the-snails terrorists all out to get him and the jar of pink gunk (presumed nuclear material) he’s toting around with him. Will he ever find out what the pink stuff actually is? Will he survive this exhausting escapade? Will the author ever tire of asking silly questions? Find out in this volume of hilarious mayhem. Or something.
I first discovered “The Incredible Worlds of Wally McDoogle” series when I was in middle school and have relied on them whenever I desperately needed a laugh ever since. Wally is the nerdy kid you’d hate to be, and his life is like one big disaster zone, but he describes the escalating madness in such humorous, overblown terms that it’s absolutely hilarious. The writing style Bill Myers uses is pretty unique, in a good way. (It’s kind of scary, re-reading this book, to see how much he’s influenced my own writing style!) Added to that, the story is clean and has a good moral lesson, but avoids being didactic about it. My Life as Dinosaur Dental Floss is recommended, particularly for late-elementary and middle-school readers, but also for anyone who just needs to let go and laugh.