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HANK ZIPZER: NIAGARA FALLS, OR DOES IT? by Henry Winkler

HANK ZIPZER: NIAGARA FALLS, OR DOES IT?

By Henry Winkler (Author) , Lin Oliver (Author)

Age Range: 9 - 11

Pub Date: May 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-448-43232-3
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

A clunky but well-meant series kickoff featuring, as the subtitle has it, “The World’s Best Underachiever.” Already in hot water for being tardy on his first day, Hank digs himself a deeper hole by presenting his “summer vacation” report not as a written essay (writing being torture for him), but a model of Niagara Falls—which proceeds to flood the classroom. He gets zero slack from teacher, Principal, or even his parents—until the music teacher with whom he spends his lengthy detention suggests that he be tested for “learning differences.” Aha! Strongly assured that doesn’t mean he’s stupid, Hank shows his creative flair again at the end, by helping his multiethnic circle of friends put on a magic show for seniors. Thoroughly typecast characters, plus Hank’s tendency to overexplain, make the earnestness outshine the plot. There’s no actual note to parents, but there might as well be, as this is plainly meant to be a consciousness-raiser about learning disabilities for both children and adults. The celebrity co-author may draw some of the former. (Fiction. 9-11)