BENJY AND THE POWER OF ZINGIES by Jean Van Leeuwen

BENJY AND THE POWER OF ZINGIES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An occasionally engaging but ultimately directionless story of third-grader Benjy, who's a dud at kickball and also has to put up with hasseling from big Alex and Alex's friend Brian. Maybe if he had new sneakers, his kickball would improve--but his mother says the ones he has are fine. Then he decides to build a better body with the breakfast cereal Zingies, which are advertised by ballplayer Clyde Johnson. He also buys a punching bag at a garage sale and plans to punch Alex in the mouth when he gets his muscles. Eventually, though, Benjy decides that he just hasn't the genes for a big body, so he pays big Matthew (by buying him ice cream when Matthew's mother has him on a diet) to punch Alex in the mouth. All the third graders delight in Alex's downfall. Around the same time Benjy draws a tyrannosaurus with fangs that glow in the dark; his teacher calls it ""quite a glorious tyrannosaurus"" and it's the hit of parents' night. ""When Jennifer's little sister saw it she started screaming and no one could get her to stop. Even the principal, Dr. Bertram, stopped by to congratulate Benjy."" This should be victory enough, but Van Leeuwen blows her credibility by having Benjy score his first homer soon after. There are a few nice scenes, as when Benjy's business-suited father, recalling how he was once into boxing, shadow-boxes around the dinner table. But both overall and in the separate episodes, the everyday-lifelike happenings need some wrap-up, point, or at least a little zing.

Pub Date: Nov. 22nd, 1982
Publisher: Dial