Some are born to mayhem (Ivy + Bean come to mind), some achieve mayhem (Dav Pilkey's George and Harold)—and then there’s Archie. Whenever he walks out the door (usually on an errand for his long-suffering mother) mayhem awaits, ready to thrust itself upon him.
Wildly improbable, exciting events attach themselves to Archie every single day. Luckily, Archie has Cyd on his side, the girl he rescues from a rogue piano and, later, a giant heap of gravel. Realizing the thrilling life her new friend leads, Cyd begs to be included in future adventures and quickly proves her worth. When Archie find himself glued to the library doors, Cyd fetches her nurse mum while Archie fortuitously foils a plan to replace the library with a parking lot. Sharply observant Cyd is on hand to explain when he’s mistaken for a kidnapping victim and when he’s accused of robbery that’s really the work of Big Barry Bolan and Fergus O’Donnell. (These very Irish names among a cast of mostly unnamed adults strike the book’s only sour note.) Hannah Shaw’s cheery illustrations deftly document the chaos (as in Katie Davies’ Anna and Suzanne books, Shaw’s gift for conveying feline moods is on display) and disapproving adults who invariably misunderstand what’s happening.
A winning American debut from this well-established winner of England’s Whitbread Award. (Fiction.7-10)