The Dunces return (Dunces Anonymous, 2009), and this time they’re battling their school’s decision to cut music and drama.
After Wilmot finds an electric guitar and decides to dedicate his life to rock-’n’-roll, his fellow Dunces take up the charge and conspire against Principal Hale, who recently cut the music and drama programs in favor of starting a hockey team. Josh infiltrates the team, while Magnolia’s histrionics take center stage, and Wang schemes in the background. The new entry in the Dunces’ saga is fluffy enough, providing adequate laughs and decent narrative drive. The author’s cartoonish world is a bit rough to get into at first, but once readers find their footing, the journey unfolds smoothly. The author is wise not to dwell too much on the arts-vs.-sports agenda, instead leaning heavily on witty banter among her characters and larger-than-life explosions of joy and friendship. Another wise decision is made when dealing with Principal Hale, who is painted not as evil or shortsighted but instead pompous and vain, making this less and less a sophisticated analysis of scholastic debate and more a well-intentioned romp.
A cute and mildly amusing slobs-vs.-snobs tale. (Fiction. 8-12)