In response to popular demand, Alex Frankovitch is back, fighting the same old classmates with a new weapon: He's going to be a Star. When his satirical letter for the National Kitty Fritters Cat Food Contest earns him a role in a commercial, Alex begins signing autographs, even though no one wants them. But the commercial is disappointing: He plays an embarrassingiy small, inept boy running away with a very large cat; and the fan club he starts consists only of his grandparents, his dog, and a neighborhood 3-year-old. His classmates remain unimpressed—even derisive. Undaunted, Alex tries out for Scrooge in a school play, but he's cast as Tiny Tim. Now slightly daunted, he plans to steal the show—until he's made painfully aware that he may have gone too far. His reactions surprise even himself. Much of the humor here lies in narrator Alex's total self-involvement and lack of awareness of his effect on other people: Paradoxically, this gives the book's closing pages a somber edge. Park risks undercutting her own protagonist, but her gamble pays off with a wiser story; middle graders will continue to ask for more.