Parents' Guide to

Pottymouth and Stoopid

By Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Underdogs overcome labels in sensitive, funny story.

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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 2+

Based on 1 parent review

age 2+

One of the best books ever

Twelve-year-olds Michael and David have been best friends—and the objects of widespread ridicule—since preschool. Now they’re in seventh grade, and things are still pretty much the same. Everyone still calls David “Stoopid,” because he once accidentally spilled some paint, and Michael “Pottymouth,” because he responds with creative expletives when provoked (“Rrrrrggghhh, David isn’t stupid, you flufferknuckles!”). David’s divorced parents and Michael’s churlish foster parents are no help, and when a new TV show appears on the Cartoon Factory network, things take a turn…for the worse. As with Patterson and Grabenstein’s previous collaborations, the combination of short chapters and comical illustrations (here courtesy of Gilpin) targets fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. This iteration aims, not quite successfully in its broad strokes, to reflect a slightly more diverse crowd—the vast majority of primary characters are white, but Michael is black, and the story also touches on children’s experiences with divorced parents, (bad) foster parents, and families with lower incomes. Readers will be amused by Pottymouth and Stoopid’s shenanigans, bolstered occasionally by the brainy Anna Britannica (chubby and white and another victim of the school’s charismatic bully), but the generally formulaic tale delivers few truly funny or memorable moments.

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Kids say (1):

James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein return to familiar terrain with this well-told, affectionate story of two seventh-graders whose remarkable qualities can feel more like a curse than a blessing. Pottymouth and Stoopid shines a spotlight on verbal bullying, which doesn't always get taken as seriously as physical assaults, and shows how labels can take on lives of their own. The jokes, insults, and herd mentality when it comes to judging others will ring true for any middle schooler. Patterson and Grabenstein write with a keen understanding of tweens, and the fun illustrations by Stephen Gilpin (the Dragon Slayers' Academy series) help keep the tone light.

The authors spend a little too long wallowing in Michael and David's misery, and their reversal of fortune is largely due to the efforts of one parent with the law on her side, which makes the end seem a little too pat. But it's encouraging to see so many past and present underdogs cheer each other on and find strength in numbers.

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