Wally McDoogle is a maniac; in his own words, “a human catastrophe”. His epic adventures are unlike those of any twelve year old alive. He’s been: hazed, scheduled as dinner for a mechanical Hollywood alien, chased by the SWAT team, sent into outer space (OK, he sort of sent himself), transformed into a giant hamburger, and the list goes on. Actually, it goes on for 28 wonderful, laughter-inducing books.
Bill Myers starts The Incredible Worlds of Wally McDoogle books in the midst of action. The action really never stops. Neither do the jokes. Wally himself is a writer, so there is always a parallel story line. We get to read the misadventures of Wally’s hero and villain interspersed with his own unbelievable story.
My boys love the My Life As… books (beginning with My Life as a Smashed Burrito). These middle grade novels are perfect for boys. They should be great for girls as well; one of Wally’s two best friends just happens to be a girl (and girls never seem to mind reading about boys). In a market flooded with horse, fairy and tween books, Wally is a breath of fresh air for my little testosterone-filled torpedo jets.
Mr. Myers is a gifted teacher, which is evident in his Wally McDoogle series. Each book begins with a Scripture passage and proceeds to teach about the dangers of a given sin or virtue. He tackles issues such as greed, pride, obedience, respect and personal evangelism.
Most of Wally’s misadventures are a direct result of sin; when he learns about love, it is because he first self-righteously judged. He has an opportunity to really experience the lives of those he’s judged as he teleports into their bodies for a time (My Life as a Splatted-Flat Quarterback – #24). We later find out it’s all part of a dream sequence (after Wally knocked himself unconscious). Mr. Myers is careful to steer clear of magic in this series – which I appreciate.
At first, I was a tiny bit nervous about having my kids read about the oversized, sinful actions of another child. My husband and I decided that the heart issues displayed were so obviously wrong and followed so immediately by (hilarious) consequences, that we were comfortable with the teaching method used. It was a good choice for us. Our boys laugh themselves silly and come away from the books with a wide-eyed appreciation for the effects of pride, fame or dishonesty.
Wally McDoogle – and his 28 fabulous books – is our favorite book series ever. I wish I’d found it in time for my older two!
Here’s my disclaimer: I happen to know Mr. Myers. I attended a conference where he was the key-note speaker, and I had the honor of taking his class for the week. I found him to be humble and biblically and doctrinally sound.
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~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.