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ODDS 'N' ENDS ALVY by John Frank


by John Frank & illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1993
ISBN: 0-02-735675-2
Publisher: Four Winds/MacMillan

 Alvy has a reputation as transformer of salvaged objects; still, his classmates are astonished when his souped-up desk zooms away during recess. Thus begins a frantic getaway, including encounters with bikers and a strongman plus a stop at home to feed the dog. Karas combines photo images with zany cartoons; the desk leaves tread marks on a crayon and watercolor playground, then zips into a real cityscape. In one witty scene, Alvy's bulky crayoned figure contrasts with the photo of a businessman. But while the art startles and delights, the storyline bolts and jolts. Readers ready for Alvy's glorious creations get only one; for more excitement, they'll have to look to the varied typefaces in the imaginatively chaotic collage. But audacious print treatment doesn't make up for the story's triviality, while the hooliganism of its logic (the desk stops at Alvy's door but not for a speeding train) will make readers ready to abandon the rickety ride. (Picture book. 5-9)