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A COUPLE OF APRIL FOOLS by Gregory Maguire


by Gregory Maguire & illustrated by Elaine Clayton

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: April 19th, 2004
ISBN: 0-618-27474-X
Publisher: Clarion

What has got to be the weirdest year in the history of Hamlet, Vermont, continues in this archly funny sixth addition to the series. It is the lead-up to April Fool’s Day, and all is not well. Thekla Mustard has been deposed as Empress of the Tattletales, and Thud Tweed is on the outs with the Copycats. Furthermore, Beatrice the Flameburper, the mutant chicken-lizard hybrid of Three Rotten Eggs (2002), is going through an alarming transformation into . . . well, it’s hard to say, with a Freak of Nature. When an April Fool’s prank leads to the disappearance of the beloved Miss Earth, the kids reluctantly set aside their differences in the face of this calamity. Maguire serves up a stew of characters who frequently teeter over the edge into caricatures, but the tongue-in-cheek text never panders to a perceived lowest-common-denominator, instead fiercely pulling its audience through a satirical romp most writers for middle-graders wouldn’t dream of attempting. Is the formula getting a little old? Perhaps, but it’s a relentlessly edgy and smart one, and as such, a breath of fresh air. (Fiction. 8-12)