Book review: The Contagious Colors of Mumpley Middle School, by Fowler DeWitt, illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo

DeWitt, Fowler. The Contagious Colors of Mumpley Middle School. Illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo. Simon & Schuster, 2013. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-7829-9. 266 pages. Ages 8-11. P7Q5.

Dewitt Contagious ColorsBrightly colored Mumpley Middle School students are sniffling and sneezing, tumbling and leaping uncontrollably. What could cause the outbreak of such an odd disease? Sixth-grader Wilmer Dooley hopes that discovering the cause of his classmates’ colorful colds will help him win the Sixth-Grade Science Medal as well as the attention of the glorious Roxie McGhee. Vomit and snot combined with clueless adults provide much of the humor. A gross but believable lunch conversation about the permissible ingredients in peanut butter (hair and insects) is followed by a far-fetched Dooley dinner of Soupy Shoe Surprise, the ingredients of which range from lemons and pickles to a comb and a wrench. Wilmer’s scientist father, who made a small fortune with the invention of a snack-food ingredient called SugarBUZZZZ!, is working on a new food that will make vegetables taste like candy. Wilmer who likes vegetables already observes his classmates relish of SugarBuzz and puts together the pieces. The solution is conspicuously apparent from the early pages.

March 2015 review by Penny McDermott.

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