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by Brian Doyle

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: March 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-88899-164-9
Publisher: Groundwood

 An Ottawa teenager nabs a polluter and sees a hostile teacher served justly embarrassing desserts in this offbeat farce. Suspended from school for swearing at a contemptuous new teacher, John ``Spud'' Sweetgrass still has his job, selling ``chips'' from a curbside wagon. Smelling an all-too-familiar odor- -rancid cooking oil--at a polluted beach, Spud suspiciously follows Dumper Stubbs, a slovenly delivery man who services local restaurants and chip-wagons, and witnesses him emptying oil into a storm drain. Spud blows the whistle--and loses his job. Doyle's present-tense, slapdash delivery and heavily caricatured adult characters make for a comic-book story, contrived but nonstop; from the high hilarity of a volleyball game played without net or ball, to the exciting climax, in which a vengeful Stubbs rams Spud's wagon, readers will keep turning the pages. By the end, Spud's fortunes have turned as golden as the fries he serves; his boozy and withdrawn mother turns over a new leaf, he's ``unfired,'' back in school, a local hero with a new girlfriend, and the local newspaper runs a photo of his teacher and a bevy of strippers. Replete with laughs, tears, and twists, plus a young hero to admire and a cardboard villain to hate, this will slide down effortlessly, like all proper snacks. (Fiction. 10-12)