Steve L. McEvil

Crown. (Steve L. McEvil). May 2022. 240p. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9780593301432.
Gr 3-6–”It’s hard to take over the planet when you still have a bedtime.” While that is true, Steve L. McEvil has bigger problems than bedtime. Middle school is always tough, but knowing that your ancestor stole Atlantis is a hard family tradition to uphold, even if you have a Death Bot named DORKUS (Drone Of Remarkable Knowledge, Usefulness, and Skill). Among other trials, Steve has to deal with the crush he can’t talk to, a goodie-goodie new kid, a sister who is better at evil than he is, and being given “old lady” frames for his new glasses. He seems to be a middle grade version of Judith Viorst’s Alexander minus the desire to move to Australia. Plenty of humor will appeal to middle grade readers and their parents, such as Steve’s horror at being assigned to two weeks on the Buddy Bench at recess. “Can’t you, like, expel me instead? Please?!” he begs the principal. References to “Star Wars,” “Short Circuit,” and “Highlander,” show some of Turnbloom’s influences. Bold comic book illustrations capture all the action, use facial expressions to give more depth to the dialogue, and showcase the epic hairstyles of Steve and Vic (whose pompadour could rival Fabian’s). Added features include instructions for making a three-panel comic strip and how to draw Steve and DORKUS.
VERDICT Sure to be a crowd-pleaser with fans of Lincoln Peirce’s “Big Nate” or Scott Seegert’s “Vordak the Incomprehensible.” Readers will eagerly await further adventures from Steve and his classmates.

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