Does a nanny exist who can tame Nathan and David?
Mr. and Mrs. Wohlfardt are at wits’ end. They have hired uncountable nannies, but their twin third-grade terrors are such bickering, lazy slobs that the nannies inevitably leave…sometimes in tears. Enter Martin Healey Discount, a manny with a mustache who claims to be a TABASCO (Teacher and Babysitter and Scholarly Childcare Orchestrator). The Wohlfardts hire him, warning the boys that if Martin leaves because of them, there will be no annual family ski trip. Martin preforms impeccably in front of the parents and regularly tricks the boys into good behavior with his own lazy immaturity. Is Martin actually a spy? Can the boys cover for his bad behavior long enough to ensure the ski trip? Katz’s debut novel—inspired by his own twin sons, Nathan and David—is what one might expect would come from the scribe of several collections of supersilly poetry: it’s episodic, hyperbolic, meandering, and a bit amateurish-feeling. Occasional smiles at a turn of phrase or slapstick moment don’t raise the laughs much above the family’s mildly potty-humor–ous surname. The boys are bratty just to be bratty, and their smirking sniping is more annoying than amusing. Easler’s occasional cartoon illustrations (final art not seen) bid fair to be better than the material they depict.
Makes one wish for a timeout. (Fiction. 7-9)