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Dear Dumb Diary by Jim Benton

March 29th, 2013 by

dear-dumb-diary-jim-bentonSubmitted by alecia, Age 11 from Rhode Island

Rating: ★★★★★

its soooo coool i just had to review it

Book Trailer: Dear Dumb Diary

September 7th, 2009 by

This book trailer for the Dear Dumb Diary series was originally the Mystery Book Theater video for our School Stories theme. For more on Dear Dumb Diary, check out our “Don’t Be a Fool, Stay in School” podcast.

Dear Diary,

You’ll never guess what happened today: we posted an awesome new video for the Dear Dumb Diary series by Jim Benton! It’s so funny that when we were recording it, we had to take lots of breaks because Nancy couldn’t stop laughing at Karen’s funny voices. Or else she was gagging at Karen’s funny body odor — sometimes it’s hard to tell…

Anyway, we hope lots of kids watch the video!

Well, that’s it for today, Diary. I wonder what’s in store for tomorrow…

Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere: Book Review

May 8th, 2017 by

You learn a lot about the main character, Olga, just by looking at the cover of Elise Gravel’s new book, Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere:


  • She’s grumpy
  • She likes animals
  • This book includes science — weird science
  • Some humans annoy her (keep in mind Olga is human too)

If just one portion of this book cover entices you, then you should definitely read Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere!

The book is half-illustrations, half-text, and all-fun! Olga, is a sarcastic, witty, science-loving girl who aspires to be a zoologist — a scientist who studies animals. Fortuitously, Olga discovers a funky potato-shaped pink creature (seen on the cover of the book), which she names “Meh” after the sound it makes all the time. Meh is smelly, furry, has a skinny tail and spindly feet, farts and burps a lot, and is about the size of a small pig.

Olga carefully catalogs her scientific observations on Meh and when she realizes she can’t match Meh to any existing species in any book, she names it olgamus ridiculus. With the help of the local librarian, new friends, and other quirky characters in her town, Olga is on a mission to study Meh. She even learns a thing or two from “the Lalas,” two girls her age who love make-up, boys, and just don’t seem “get” her.

But where does Meh come from? What does it eat? Can Olga take care of it properly? Read the book to find out!

Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere is perfect for fans of Captain Underpants, Dear Dumb Diary, or Wimpy Kid. It’s a very quick read, and the drawings and observations in the book will probably make you laugh out loud. I loved how Olga truly loves all animals, no matter how large, small, or creepy crawly:

This book is brand-new on shelves, but I’m excited to see what other nerdy adventures are in store for Olga in the future! Will she find other animals, and what will happen to Meh? I hope we find out in the rest of the series!

— Nancy

Nancy does not like slugs, but she does not mind drawings of slugs. Most of the time.

Meet Nancy »

The Funnies Aren’t Just For Sundays Anymore

February 20th, 2014 by

Graphic novels are ALL THE RAGE right now!

I don’t know why I shouted ALL THE RAGE. But they are ALL THE RAGE! Here are a few — okay, a lot — of graphic novels and comic books that you should check out!

(Click a thumbnail to see the full book cover.)

The Popular Kids

You’ve probably read one, two, or all of these series. You probably see them everywhere, so it’s a good thing that these series are great!

The Indie Favorites

You might have heard of these, or maybe not. Maybe some of your classmates have read them and are super smug about how great they are. Don’t let those hipsters win; pick up one of these books today!

The Adaptations

The best stories are always retold! They had amazing past lives, and now these books have been reincarnated with illustrations and speech bubbles. One day they’ll have an identity crisis and there might be a graphic novel vs. original novel showdown, but for now… you decide which edition is better!


You might not have grown up with these, but certainly did (because I’m way older than you). But that shouldn’t stop you from reading these classics — some of the authors are still writing and illustrating, and the others are still just as hilarious as they were in 12 B.C.

Just kidding. I’m not that old.

So… How’d I do on this super duper whooper long list — did I miss anything? Leave a comment below if you think a comic book or graphic novel is missing from this list!

— Nancy

icon_nancyNancy’s favorite book/series from this blog post is Foxtrot. Wait, no. Robot Dreams. Hm, scratch that — Dear Dumb Diary. Origami Yoda? Oh, Calvin and Hobbes, for sure… but Jedi Academy is so good… AHHHH DON’T MAKE HER CHOOSE! SHE LOVES THEM ALLLLLLLL!




Children’s Book Week Giveaway

May 12th, 2013 by

Kid Lit Giveaway HopGuess what tomorrow is! Well, yes, it’s Monday. And yeah, traditionally Mondays have not been our favorite days ever. But this week, we’re making an exception because tomorrow kicks off Children’s Book Week 2013!

From May 13th to May 19th librarians, teachers, publishers, kidlit bloggers (like us!), and children’s book lovers everywhere (us again!) will be celebrating how totally completely AWESOME books and reading are.

This year, we’re celebrating by taking part in a Giveaway Hop — which means that a ton of websites about kids’ books are all hosting their own Children’s Book Week sweepstakes at the same time! The brilliant idea of Mother Daughter Book Reviews and Youth Literature Reviews blogs, the hop is kinda like a big virtual party in honor of kidlit — the only bad part being that you can’t eat virtual cake…

Here at Kidsmomo, we’re giving away two — count ’em, TWO — prize packs for our Children’s Book Week Giveaway! Check out our prize swag below, then enter for a chance to win!

Children's Book Week Giveaway Prize Pack #1

And after you do that, check out the other sweeps! NOTE: You guys can enter our sweepstakes yourselves, but a lot of the other Giveaway Hop sweepstakes are not specifically for kids. However, they are ALL related to books for kids, so please grab a parent and check out these sweeps together!

And also leave a comment and let us know: What are YOU reading right now, during Children’s Book Week 2013?

Prize Pack #1 includes:

• Children’s Book Week poster
The Boneshaker
• Dear Dumb Diary, Year 2, Book 1: School. Hasn’t This Gone on Long Enough?
Vordak the Incomprehensible
Noonie’s Masterpiece

Prize Pack #2 includes:
• Children’s Book Week poster
Skulduggery Pleasant
The Classroom: The Epic Documentary of a Not-Yet-Epic Kid
Gossip from the Girls’ Room
Raja: Story of a Racehorse

Enter before May 20th! See official rules.

This sweepstakes has ended.

Children’s Book Week Giveaway for Kids: Official Rules

May 10th, 2013 by’s Children’s Book Week Giveaway
Kid Sweepstakes – Official Rules


Sweepstakes is open to anyone under the age of 18 who is a legal resident of, and physically located within, the 50 United States or D.C. Sweepstakes is void in Puerto Rico and where otherwise prohibited or restricted by law.

The sweepstakes begins on May 12, 2013 and ends on May 19, 2013. Entries must be received by May 19, 2013.

How to Enter:
No purchase necessary to enter. A purchase will not improve your chance of winning. To enter the Sweepstakes, fill out the online Sweepstakes entry form (the “Form”). Completion of the Form will automatically enter you in the Sweepstakes. Completion of the Form is the only means of entering the Sweepstakes. Partially completed Forms will not be accepted. Limit one entry per person. Subsequent entries will be disqualified. Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (United States) on May 19, 2013. YOU MAY ONLY ENTER THIS SWEEPSTAKES ONLINE, NO OTHER METHOD OF ENTRY WILL BE ACCEPTED. No copies, facsimiles or reproductions of online entry form will be accepted. All entries become the exclusive property of Kidsmomo and will not be acknowledged or returned. Kidsmomo shall not be liable for (a) telephone, electronic, program, network, Internet, or computer delays, deletions, interruptions or other failures of any kind; (b) late, lost, damaged, failed, misdirected, incomplete, garbled, unintelligible, or delayed computer messages; or (c) any human error that may occur in the processing of any entry, nor are they responsible for any theft or destruction or unauthorized access to, or alteration of, entries, whether caused by the sender or any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in this Sweepstakes. Proof of emailing does not constitute proof of delivery. In the event of a dispute regarding the identity of a person submitting an online entry, the entry will be deemed to be submitted by the Authorized Account Holder of the e-mail address at the time of entry. “Authorized Account Holder” is defined as the natural person who is assigned the email address by an Internet access provider, online service provider, or other organization (e.g., business, educational institution, etc.) that is responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address.

Two (2) winners will receive a prize pack each.

Prize Pack #1 contains: a Children’s Book Week 2013 poster, a copy of Dear Dumb Diary, Year 2, Book 1: School. Hasn’t This Gone on Long Enough? by Jim Benton, a copy of Noonie’s Masterpiece by Lisa Railsback, a copy of Vordak the Incomprehensible, a copy of The Boneshaker by Kate Milford, and a copy of Sidekicks by Dan Santat. (Estimated retail value: $66.)

Prize Pack #2 contains: a Children’s Book Week 2013 poster, a copy of Gossip from the Girls’ Room by Rose Cooper, a copy of The Classroom: The Epic Documentary of a Not-Yet-Epic Kid by Robin Mellom and Stephen Gilpin, a copy of Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy, a copy of ParaNorman by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, and a copy of Raja: Story of a Racehorse by Anne Hambleton. (Estimated retail value: $57.)

No prize transfer, assignment, or substitution by winners permitted.

Winner Selection and Notification:
On or about May 20, 2013, two (2) winners will be selected at random from all eligible entries received.

Winners must meet all eligibility requirements. In the event a winner is deemed ineligible, or is not available to claim the prize, then an alternate winner will be selected at random from all remaining eligible entries.

Each winner’s parent/guardian will be notified by email on or about May 20, 2013 and will be required to respond and confirm eligibility and liability release. All legal responsibilities of a minor under the rules will be assumed by the parent/guardian. Response to email notification must be received by Kidsmomo within seven (7) days or the prize will be forfeited and will be awarded to an alternate winner.

Odds of winning depend on the total number of eligible sweepstakes entries received. Many may enter; only two (2) will win.

By participating in this sweepstakes, entrants agree (a) to be bound by these official rules; and (b) that the decisions of Kidsmomo are final on all matters relating to the sweepstakes.

By participating and/or accepting any prize that they may win, entrants agree to release Kidsmomo from any liability, claims, losses, and damages arising in any manner, directly or indirectly, from participation in this sweepstakes and/or acceptance or use of the prize.

Kidsmomo (

Book Reviews — In Verse!

April 7th, 2012 by

It’s April, and you know what that means… Well, yes, it’s probably going to rain a lot. But I was actually referring to National Poetry Month!

I know not everyone is into poetry, and I understand. Some poetry is crazy difficult to understand, and some poetry is very dull. Other poetry, well, it’s just plain bad — for example, the poetry I wrote when I was a teenager! But poetry can be fun, especially when you feel free to get silly with it. Which I am about to do!

Last year, I had such a blast writing booktalk poetry that I decided to do it again. So prepare yourself to be wowed by my amazing skillz!

Obviously, I have to start with a limerick:

dear-dumb-diary-jim-bentonDear Dumb Diary series by Jim Benton

There once was a girl named Jamie.
And I know she’d totally slay me,
But I read her secret notes;
There’s a zillion funny quotes!
C’mon, can you really blame me?

Then I thought it would be fitting to write a haiku for this book, which is about a doll that the Japanese government gives to America as a token of friendship:

friendship-doll-kirby-larsonThe Friendship Doll by Kirby Larson

If you’re a girl who
Likes historical fiction,
This book is for you.

Not bad, eh? Well, I saved the best for last! Here is my ode to a little green guy who holds my heart:

strange-case-origami-yodaThe Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

Meet Origami Yoda.
He’ll give you some advice.
But can you really trust him?
I suggest that you think twice.

Is it truly Yoda’s wisdom,
Or could it be his maker, Dwight?
Some suggestions work out great;
Others don’t seem right.

Tommy really needs to know,
‘Cuz he asked about romance.
Is this just a joke by Dwight,
Or should he take a chance?

If you wanna know what happens,
Then you gotta read the book.
And there’s also a fun sequel
That’s totally worth a look.

I also heard that soon,
There’s gonna be a Book 3.
You know I’m gonna get it,
‘Cuz it’s about… a wookiee!

Well, I hope these poetic book reviews have inspired you — to write your own, read the books, or hopefully both! If you decide to give it a go, please share the results in the comments. I would love to see what you create!

— Karen

Karen recently re-read some of the poetry she wrote back in high school. Wow, it was terrible. Like, stinky to high heaven. You will not ever be seeing any of it on Kidsmomo.

More about Karen »

Doomed Cross-Book Couples

February 16th, 2012 by

As I’ve mentioned before in our podcasts, I lurrrrve books with romance and cute couples… and you know what’s just as fun as all the lovey-dovey stuff? Drama! Jealousy! Crushes and unrequited love! (Only if it’s happening to fictional characters, of course. That stuff’s no fun in real life.)

Karen presented some cross-book characters that would make great couples, but how about cross-book characters that would make TERRIBLE couples? (But would probably be pretty funny to read about.)

Non-Couple #1: Hermione Granger (Harry Potter) + Greg Heffley (Diary of a Wimpy Kid)

Hermione is the ultimate straight-A — I mean, straight-O student — and Greg’s slacker attitude would definitely annoy her to no end… Plus, Greg probably would get pretty bored unsuccessfully trying to convince her to collude on his get-famous/popular-quick schemes.

Also, I have a feeling that Greg, upon discovering Hermione’s real magical abilities, would first completely freak out… and then try to get Hermione in on one of those get-famous/popular-quick schemes. Which, as we already covered, Hermione would not approve of.

Non-Couple #2: Dwight (Strange Case of Origami Yoda) and Jamie Kelley (Dear Dumb Diary)

Dwight: An oddball who gives sage but cryptic advice from an origami puppet of a famous but super nerdy movie.

Jamie: Busy dealing with friend Isabella and frenemy Angeline, and middle school in general.

Dwight’s enigmatic behavior would drive Jamie nuts; Jamie’s neurotic behavior would drive Dwight (quietly) nuts.

Non-Couple #3: Kristy Thomas (The Baby-Sitter’s Club) + Colin Craven (The Secret Garden)

Kristy is athletic, outgoing, and slightly bossy. Okay, she’s actually very bossy. And Colin, when we first meet him, is an equally bossy, spoiled, sickly, bitter child… and (spoiler alert!!!) even though he eventually gains his physical strength back, his bossiness level still stays pretty high. They would end up arguing all the time!

Non-Couple #4: Hawkfrost (Warriors) + Harold the Dog (Bunnicula)

It’s not just because their species are incompatible!

Hawkfrost is cunning, mysterious, and a fighter of the RiverClan, while Harold would just want to stay out of trouble, curl up by the fire at home and tell a good story. They are just not meant to be.


But who knows, maybe opposites do attract? Leave other doomed cross-book romances suggestions in the comments!

— Nancy

Nancy’s current doomed-to-fail relationship is the relationship she has with her ever-growing pile of laundry. She really wants it to go away but it insists on lying around her apartment.

More about Nancy »

Series Starring Girls

March 8th, 2011 by

March is Women’s History Month, but we at Kidsmomo say, “Why should grown-ups get all the glory?” (It has nothing to do with the fact that we still act like children. Really.) So in honor of females of ALL ages, we’ve gathered a group of great girls — from the younger sister of Sherlock Holmes, to a psychic investigator, to a bunch of gals who may remind you of… yourself! Meet them all in these series starring girls (in no particular order):

  1. Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (Karen’s pick)
  2. Anne of Green Gables books by L.M. Montgomery (Nancy’s pick)
  3. Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry
  4. Ramona books by Beverly Cleary
  5. Amber Brown series by Paula Danziger
  6. Dear Dumb Diary by Jim Benton
  7. Sammy Keyes by Wendelin Van Draanen
  8. Theodosia series by R.L. LaFevers
  9. Judy Moody, written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter Reynolds
  10. Gilda Joyce series by Jennifer Allison
  11. Katie Kazoo Switcheroo by Nancy E. Krulik
  12. Enola Holmes series by Nancy Springer
  13. Kiki Strike books by Kristen Miller
  14. Amelia Rules! (graphic novel series) by Jimmy Gownley

(Also, here’s a printable version of our Series Starring Girls booklist, for you to take to the library or bookstore — or share with all your amazing gal pals.)

If you’ve read any of these, send in your book review. Or send in a review of your favorite series starring a girl.

UPDATE 3/22/11: We revealed the answer to our Series Starring Girls Mystery Book Theater in the “About a Girl” Podcast, so take a listen if you want to know the answer. Or just tune in if you want to learn something new about Nancy — that you may wish you could unlearn afterward…

Super Summer Series

June 1st, 2010 by

Hellooooooooooo, June! You know what that means — summer has arrived! Fine, maybe not officially, but who cares? School’s ending, and a whole season of sunny fun is stretching out ahead of you. And with all your free time, what better opportunity to get into an awesome book series? Especially with so many new series titles coming out! So grab a lemonade and start one of these super summer series:

  1. Lunch Lady by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Nancy’s pick) — Book 4: The Summer Camp Shakedown came out May 11
  2. Seekers by Erin Hunter — Book 5: Fire in the Sky came out May 11
  3. Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen — Book 2: Lawn Boy Returns came out May 11
  4. Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan (Karen’s pick) — Book 8: The Kings of Clonmel came out May 18
  5. Children of the Red King by Jenny Nimmo — Book 8: Charlie Bone and the Red Knight came out in May
  6. Warriors by Erin Hunter — Battles of the Clans (a field guide) comes out June 1
  7. Spaceheadz by Jon Scieszka — Book 1 comes out June 22
  8. Dear Dumb Diary by Jim Benton — Book 10: The Worst Things in Life Are Also Free comes out in June

If you’ve read any of these, send in your book review. Or send in a review of your favorite series (or your favorite book in a series). We’ll feature the best kid-submitted reviews in our next podcast!

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