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Review: Matthew Meets The Man (Nichols)

AUTHOR: Travis Nichols
SERIES: none
PUBLISHER: Roaring Brook Press
ISBN: 9781596435452
PAGES: 176
SOURCE: public library
GENRE: humor
GIVE IT TO: fans of Diary of A Wimpy Kid

SUMMARY: Although he plays trumpet in his school’s marching band, ninth-grader Matthew Swanbeck really wants to start his own rock band. He knows that to do this, he first needs to buy and learn to play the drums. But making (and saving) money to buy drums isn’t easy, and “The Man” seems to thwart him at every turn.

REVIEW: Meh. I am sure there are plenty of middle school boys who will love this book, but for me, it is slow-paced with dull characters and not enough action or conflict. I honestly didn’t care whether Matthew got his drums, though I did enjoy reading about Matthew’s creative solutions. I don’t think it is a terrible book, but it isn’t anything to rave about, either. Matthew Meets the Man lacks the charm of Kinney’s Wimpy Kid and Angleberger’s Origami Yoda series; though it is supposed to be funny, I didn’t laugh or chuckle or even smile when I read scenes that were clearly supposed to be funny.

That said, I do hope author Travis Nichols keeps at it. Books with this conversational illustrated-diary format are incredibly hot right now, and I really wish there were more books like this for middle school readers. I snatch them up for the library whenever I find new ones.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The illustrated diary format will make this one popular, especially with reluctant readers, but that does not make it interesting or well-written.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: Oh, I’ll get it. There are better choices out there, but my students love this format and probably won’t care that it isn’t the best of its genre.

READALIKES: Diary of A Wimpy Kid series (Kinney); Origami Yoda series (Angleberger)


  • Overall: 2/5
  • Creativity: 2/5
  • Characters: 1/5
  • Engrossing: 2/5
  • Writing: 3/5
  • Appeal to teens: 5/5
  • Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5


  • Language: mild–“ass”, “flippin”, “hell”
  • Sexuality: mild–some off-page “making out”
  • Violence: none
  • Drugs/Alcohol: none

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