by Donna L. Peterson, illustrated by Rachel Sharp
Bonneville Books, 2011
Reviewed from copy received from publisher through NetGalley.
Pip, whose real name is Phillip Isaac Penn, feels that the world is against him as he struggles to deal with angry parents, a bossy older sister, a frazzled teacher, and memorable characters such as Bully Bart, Cheater Chaz, Know-It-All Nell, Liar Lizzy, Stealer Steffan, Conman Cody, and Tattle-Tale Tess. Every day of the week brings another challenge that Pip handles in his own endearing way. Yet, no matter how hard he tries, he realizes that it’s just not easy being a kid. (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11010453-the-mis-adventures-of-phillip-isaac-penn)This book reminds me of the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books by Betty MacDonald, where in each chapter a child's particular weakness is dealt with. Although this book does not use magic to solve the problem. One thing I particularly liked is that things don't always go Pip's way, not every situation has a 'happily-ever-after.' This makes the book much more believable. Pip also reminds me a great deal of characters like Alvin Ho, Stink, or Bobby, or Ramona, Judy Moody, and Clementine, whose intentions are usually good, but whose plans often go awry. I also appreciated the fact that Pip recognizes that he has made mistakes and honestly tries to do better.
The writing is smooth, although the repetition at the beginning and ending of each chapter get a little old. The illustrations provide a nice complement to the story, the expressive eyes of the characters are hard to resist. Recommended.