Wild Cards

illus. by Dave Whamond. 88p. Orca/Echoes. Feb. 2017. pap. $6.95. ISBN 9781459812116.
Gr 1–4—The boys at Matt's school are crazy for Monster Zap, a popular television show and card game. Matt and his friend Tyler get in a fight over a prized Gross Eyeball card. The principal soon bans the cards from school, declaring that they are a bad influence. Matt and his friends are distraught and try to come up with a plan to still play the game at school. Matt tries drawing the cards, but things get out of hand when other students create a card that insults the principal. He realizes that he needs to work together with the school principal to find a solution that not only helps his friends but also benefits the school at large. This is a story about problem-solving and creating ways to make one's environment a better place. It reads like a simpler version of Tom Angleberger's The Strange Case Of Origami Yoda. The writing is aimed at emerging or struggling readers, and the content is high-interest.
VERDICT A fine addition to a first chapter book collection. Young readers will be able to relate to these characters while reading at a level that promotes confidence.

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