Skip the hall pass and take a hard pass on this middle school tale.

FOOD FIGHT

It was the biggest food fight in school history, but who’s to blame?

Suspect No. 1, Andrea, has a detailed life plan, the next step of which is winning the student body president’s race on the way to a position in Canada’s Parliament via Harvard and Yale. Ralph, suspect No. 2, is eager to make friends at his new school (his fifth in six years). And Joe, suspect No. 3, just wants to let a girl he likes know how he feels. Their alternating accounts of the lead-up to the fight tell the story in flashback. As part of her election campaign, Andrea sets up an anonymous advice app called Bossypants (just before the election she’ll reveal herself as the helpful adviser), but her tech help is not really on her side. Joe and Ralph both get messed-up advice, and misunderstanding leads to more misunderstanding…leads to the historic food fight. Will anyone get what they want or what they deserve? Sherman’s tale strains credulity from the beginning. The kids are realistic enough, and their narrative voices are distinct, but the logical hoops they are forced to jump through for the sake of gags and plot are completely unbelievable. No clueless young swain (or his family!) would believe he should woo a girl with pureed mussels and Coca-Cola–drizzled beets at lunch. The book adheres to the white default.

Skip the hall pass and take a hard pass on this middle school tale. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 21, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-55455-391-4

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This revenger’s comedy, dotted with references to classic plays and philosophical concepts, will be a joy for pranksters and...

THE TERRIBLE TWO GET WORSE

From the Terrible Two series , Vol. 2

When pranking perfection meets the seemingly unprankable foe, who gets the last laugh?

Terrible Two Niles and Miles have been merrily pranking their favorite targets, Principal Barkin and his dim, loathsome son Josh, at school and in town all autumn long. Fed up with the plague of pranks, former Principal Barkin (father of the current one) stages a coup d’état at a school board meeting and takes back his old job. This new-old Principal Barkin is draconian in his control of the school. He hangs a sign counting the days since the last prank…which, since he avows there is no prank if no one reacts (and he never reacts), means there have been no pranks. Miles and Niles despair as one after another of their complex, devious plots are ignored. School becomes unbearable until they seek help from a most unlikely source. Can three succeed where two have failed? John and Barnett’s sophomore effort is as much fun as series opener The Terrible Two (2015). The boys’ history as rivals and their home lives barely receive mention here, so the first volume is a must-read—no hardship. Cornell’s line drawings add to the goofy, deadpan experience.

This revenger’s comedy, dotted with references to classic plays and philosophical concepts, will be a joy for pranksters and seekers of a good-hearted laugh. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1680-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more