What could have turned mean Mrs. Cakel nice?
Ten-year-old Danny’s fourth-grade teacher has rules about everything, and her favorite word is “No.” No mumbling. No slouching. No passing notes. No eating in class. Danny’s unconventional friend, Calvin Waffle, is always getting into trouble. Then Mrs. Cakel suddenly turns nice. The boys decide to investigate (Calvin says his father’s a spy, so he knows “lots of spy tricks”). When they find their teacher’s house, they discover “lost dog” posters all over the neighborhood, and when they call the number on the posters, Mrs. Cakel answers. The friends decide to find the dog, get the reward and return Mrs. Cakel to normal. Meanwhile, Calvin’s scattered mother gets a new job, and Danny’s father loses his. With all these changes, will the boys still make the right choices? Though it starts with a head-scratcher—why would the boys and their friends want the mean Mrs. Cakel back?—Adler’s second tale of doodle-loving Danny features real kid characters with real kid perspectives on the adult world. Danny’s actual doodles feel a bit of an afterthought or a gimmicky grab at the younger fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but this quirky tale of genuine friendship is still worth a look.
Not up to the standards set by Adler’s Cam Jansen but an enjoyable light read. (Mystery. 7-9)