Written by Mac Barnett and Jory John
Illustrated by Kevin Cornell
An invincible principal? Just the challenge Miles and Niles need to keep the laugh-out-loud story going. Returning readers will pick up right where they left off with book one, but even those just getting introduced to this pair will recognize good clean fun right off the bat.
These boys take pranking so seriously they do pranking exercises and prank one another for practice. But their pranking ways get too much attention from the school board and result in getting the principal replaced by his father. Former Principal Barkin turns the school into a regular boot camp where no pranks will be tolerated.
However, in the midst of this story about friendship, are stories about the haves and the have nots. Barnett and John introduce theories of Robin Hood, Chekhov, Scoville and others through classroom activities, as well as the reading done by Niles and Miles themselves. These are well-read fellows who come to understand how power works in their own school as well as in the real world. A fun read that also opens the door for grander discussions about the benefits people who have power already possess over everyone else.
Cartoon sketches add delight to the story experience and will invite in readers who would shy away from text heavy books.
Core curriculum standards can be met in many areas of literacy, as well as in the areas of social studies as the activities of propaganda is discussed and can be tied directly into current events and/or history of our world. This would make a fantastic read-aloud or book club addition for the middle grade students.