SPIDER STORCH'S TEACHER TORTURE by Gina Willner-Pardo

SPIDER STORCH'S TEACHER TORTURE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Joey Storch, otherwise known as Spider, is not happy when his mother becomes friends with the mother of his third-grade classroom nemesis, the tattle-tale Mary Grace, he is horrified when the two mothers decide to carpool to school. It's bad enough that he has to ride in the same car with Mary Grace, but it's worse when the other children tease him about being in love with her. Spider decides that the only solution is to break up the friendship, so be tells Mary Grace's mother that his mother burps when she sings and has bad handwriting; he also plays a prank with a recipe. Sharratt's comic black-and-white illustrations provide scenes of fun that aren't realized in the text, and when it comes to the characterizations, the playing field is pitched on the side of the adults: The mothers are unfailing in their forbearance while Spider and Mary Grace (and their classmates) are obnoxious. While Spider feels remorse and apologizes, it's more a manipulation of the plot than any crisis of conscience he's shown himself capable of resolving. The most interesting twist--Spider's changes to a recipe for a dish that Mary Grace's divorced mother plans to serve to a possible love interest--has the potential for humor, but even that is dissolved when he prematurely confesses.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1997
Page count: 60pp
Publisher: Whitman