Simon's latest scheme is to gain everlasting fame and glory by winning the school talent show. What stands in his way? A lot. There's the fact that he doesn't sing, dance, or play a musical instrument. There's nasty Mike McAlpine and his cronies. There's Stacy and her distracting brown eyes. And last, but certainly not least, is Mrs. Annand, who insists on bombarding Simon and his friends with dangerously hard muffins while they rehearse their act. Utter humiliation is looking a lot more likely than fame and glory for Simon's band, The Groovy Guys.
When a school talent show is announced, persnickety elementary-schooler Simon is convinced that he and his two best friends need to emulate a popular boy band, the Funkee Boyz, to take first place. Simon reads the dictionary for fun and talks like it: "We will convene at my domicile after our daily internment has drawn to a conclusion" (Simon's vocab test ready words are both bolded in the story and defined in a glossary). He's also a master planner, though his plans have a tendency to go south fast. Preparing for the talent show is no different: his neighbor takes to pelting Simon's band with bran muffins when they disturb her television time, and their efforts at retaliation backfire. This first novel from picture book author/illustrator Kelley (Twelve Terrible Things) is packed with gross-out humor and pleasingly absurd details, such as the retiring schoolteacher who gives Simon's class assignments tied to her planned relocation to Florida. Simon's frostiness and formal dialogue, though, may distance him from readers, and both he and his friends come across as fairly one-note. Ages 7 10.