Fans will be shivering and laughing…evilly.

STRIKEOUT OF THE BLEACHER WEENIES

AND OTHER WARPED AND CREEPY TALES

From the Weenies series , Vol. 8

The weird, warped weenies weturn for an eighth collection of tiny terror tales.

Vampires stalk vampires that stalk vampires (to eat of course). A spelling mistake in special writing-assistance software at school introduces Hector to the Differnet, where the hyperbolic descriptions on video clips (“…will make you wet your pants!”) are lethally true. With conservation in mind, Serena works successfully to get the local werewolf placed on the endangered species list…and finds she’s suddenly the go-to girl for supernatural beings tired of being hunted to extinction. Lubar, king of the quick and twisty tale, sultan of the scary (and sometimes silly) short-short story, presents 30 more diminutive dips into the strange, the bizarre, and the unexpected. Most end badly for the protagonist or narrator; boys and girls are represented in equal number. It’s to be expected in a field of well over 200 weenies stories there will be some strikeouts; there are a few here. However, the final story alone is worth the price of a ticket to this game (coulrophobes, don’t even think about reading it!). The collection concludes with a section of story notes explaining the origins of these tales of time travel, revenge, fears come to life, and bullies getting their just deserts.

Fans will be shivering and laughing…evilly. (Short stories. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7653-7726-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.

WAYSIDE SCHOOL BENEATH THE CLOUD OF DOOM

Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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90 MILES TO HAVANA

After Castro’s takeover, nine-year-old Julian and his older brothers are sent away by their fearful parents via “Operation Pedro Pan” to a camp in Miami for Cuban-exile children. Here he discovers that a ruthless bully has essentially been put in charge. Julian is quicker-witted than his brothers or anyone else ever imagined, though, and with his inherent smarts, developing maturity and the help of child and adult friends, he learns to navigate the dynamics of the camp and surroundings and grows from the former baby of the family to independence and self-confidence. A daring rescue mission at the end of the novel will have readers rooting for Julian even as it opens his family’s eyes to his courage and resourcefulness. This autobiographical novel is a well-meaning, fast-paced and often exciting read, though at times the writing feels choppy. It will introduce readers to a not-so-distant period whose echoes are still felt today and inspire admiration for young people who had to be brave despite frightening and lonely odds. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

 

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59643-168-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2010

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