While Danny is the narrator and his name is on the cover, the real star of this book is Danny's new friend Calvin Waffle. New to the school, Calvin is quite (and quietly) odd and takes an odd approach to making new friends, which he is definitely interested in having even though he is not at all concerned with "fitting in." The humorous and earnest story is about Danny learning to see past Calvin's oddities to appreciate the person behind them. While this premise could have been outrageously silly and wildly exaggerated in a different storyteller's hands, Adler has created a very thoughtful, polite, intelligent, everyday, and almost subdued cast of characters for the tale. Young readers should definitely be able to understand and relate to them, even if they aren't immensely entertained. It's a thoughtful book.
I'm afraid I had to deduct a star from my rating because I found the "doodles" promised prominently on the cover as the series title to be innocuous and ineffective. They weren't particularly humorous or effective at communicating information (most required the included captions), never added to the story, were regularly indecipherable, and were wholly unengaging and forgettable.
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