Peter Lee isn’t surprised to be accepted into the academically gifted program. Fifth grade was a breeze, and he and best...

THE DETENTION CLUB

Being cool in the sixth grade turns out to be an unexpected challenge.

Peter Lee isn’t surprised to be accepted into the academically gifted program. Fifth grade was a breeze, and he and best friend Drew were popular because of their expert collecting skills. Peter’s perfect, older sister Sunny warns him that middle school’s completely different; she couldn’t be more right. On the first day, Peter and Drew learn that no one followed through on their mica-collecting challenge from last year. There’s no recess. Everyone grew. By the end of the day, Peter’s pretty sure they’re losers. How can they regain their popularity? Following Sunny around only proves she’s busy, not popular. Faked pictures from parties “in another town” impress no one. Even a cool escapist act for the talent show only nets them embarrassing nicknames. When Peter ends up in detention, inspiration strikes, though it jeopardizes his friendship with Drew. Yoo’s lovable loser becomes a whole lot less so when he preys on his best friend’s naiveté. His journey from totally self-centered dweeb to team player is littered with wacky speed bumps (mostly of his own unwitting design), and preteens will see themselves and their peers in the halls of Fenwick Middle.

Pub Date: June 21, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-178378-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

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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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SWINDLE

From the Swindle series , Vol. 1

Eleven-year-old Griffin Bing is “the man with the plan.” If something needs doing, Griffin carefully plans a fix and his best friend Ben usually gets roped in as assistant. When the town council ignores his plan for a skate park on the grounds of the soon-to-be demolished Rockford House, Griffin plans a camp-out in the house. While there, he discovers a rare Babe Ruth baseball card. His family’s money worries are suddenly a thing of the past, until unscrupulous collectables dealer S. Wendell Palomino swindles him. Griffin and Ben plan to snatch the card back with a little help. Pet-lover Savannah whispers the blood-thirsty Doberman. Rock-climber “Pitch” takes care of scaling the house. Budding-actor Logan distracts the nosy neighbor. Computer-expert Melissa hacks Palomino’s e-mail and the house alarm. Little goes according to plan, but everything turns out all right in this improbable but fun romp by the prolific and always entertaining Korman. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-439-90344-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2008

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