Young readers will get the whole of the Helen of Troy story in an amazingly lighthearted way, plus discussion questions, a...

HIT THE ROAD, HELEN!

From the Myth-O-Mania series , Vol. 9

The ninth in a series of rollicking Greek–god-and-goddess tales for those not quite ready for Rick Riordan.

Hades, Ruler of the Underworld, narrates, taking it upon himself to clarify the, er, myths in The Big Fat Book of Greek Myths that his little brother Zeus has propagated. He takes on the entire Trojan War, emphasizing how hard he tried to prevent it. The tone is set right from the cover, on which the beauteous Helen has been tagged by a rebellious Cupid’s arrow right in her shapely derrière. That Smoochie Woochie arrow is what made Helen go to Troy with Paris, leaving her husband Menelaus and causing the whole Greece-and-Troy megillah. Hades prefers hanging around with “Cerbie,” his three-headed dog, and watching wrestling from his La-Z-God recliner, but he tries mightily to head off all the battles that Zeus and the other gods keep inflaming for their own amusement. Since Hades is also god of the afterlife, the ghosts of Hector, Achilles and Penthesilea get to tell their own stories when they arrive at his Motel Styx.

Young readers will get the whole of the Helen of Troy story in an amazingly lighthearted way, plus discussion questions, a glossary and “King Hades’s Quick-and-Easy Guide to the Myths” thrown in for good measure. (Fractured mythology. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4342-6219-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.

WAYSIDE SCHOOL BENEATH THE CLOUD OF DOOM

Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

SWINDLE

From the Swindle series , Vol. 1

Eleven-year-old Griffin Bing is “the man with the plan.” If something needs doing, Griffin carefully plans a fix and his best friend Ben usually gets roped in as assistant. When the town council ignores his plan for a skate park on the grounds of the soon-to-be demolished Rockford House, Griffin plans a camp-out in the house. While there, he discovers a rare Babe Ruth baseball card. His family’s money worries are suddenly a thing of the past, until unscrupulous collectables dealer S. Wendell Palomino swindles him. Griffin and Ben plan to snatch the card back with a little help. Pet-lover Savannah whispers the blood-thirsty Doberman. Rock-climber “Pitch” takes care of scaling the house. Budding-actor Logan distracts the nosy neighbor. Computer-expert Melissa hacks Palomino’s e-mail and the house alarm. Little goes according to plan, but everything turns out all right in this improbable but fun romp by the prolific and always entertaining Korman. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-439-90344-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2008

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more