Wonderful children’s author David Lubar has two new collections of short stories, “Teeny Weenies: The Intergalactic Petting Zoo” and “Teeny Weenies: Freestyle Frenzy.” Kids love the original Weenie series like “Strikeout of the Bleacher Weenies,” which are perfect for older middle grade readers. In this new “Teeny Weenie” series, the stories are great for younger kids in first grade and higher. The stories are a bit shorter and simpler to follow, yet still filled with Lubar’s clever wit and bizarre imagination.
Kids love the stories because they are wacky. Take the first story in “Freestyle Frenzy” about a kid at a swim meet with some very strange opponents. The solution to the unnatural speed with which the newcomers swim is clever and will make readers smile. Dogs to the rescue! With the second story in the collection, “Groundhog Day,” Lubar slips the familiar scenario of Groundhog Day upside down and sideways. It’s a bit bloody, but kids will love it! And “The Intergalactic Petting Zoo” is a fabulous short story. Adults might see the plot twist coming from the start, but most kids will love the surprising (to them) twist.
Teachers love the “Weenie” series, too. Many of the short stories are perfect for not only comprehension questions, but discussions about why the stories work so well. I’ve used “Mrs. Barunki” from “Curse of the Campfire Weenies” for years with students. Lubar describes it as “… a complete morality tale in 410 words.” Kids usually need to read it two or three times to really understand what happens at the end — it’s fabulous! I also use “Eat Your Veggies” with fifth grade students. It’s another brilliant story that stays with readers. There are many stories in this new series for even first grade teachers to use with their students for comprehension and great discussion. It’s valuable to have students talk about why the stories work so well — what does Lubar do to keep the interest?
The illustrations are done by Bill Mayer, who illustrates all the Weenie books. The simple little hot dog character illustrations add another layer of interest throughout the stories.
Two more collections in the “Teeny Weenie” series are due to come out this fall. Get the whole collection for even more reading fun. Your kids or your students will thank you!
Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover books provided by the publisher, Starscape, for review purposes.