A fun fantasy romp.

READ REVIEW

PILFER ACADEMY

A SCHOOL SO BAD IT'S CRIMINAL

Hogwarts is a school for wizards. Pilfer Academy is a school for thieves.

As one of six children, “Naughty George” is well-practiced at lifting things that are not his. His sister’s diary, his brother’s comic books, and anyone’s dollar bills attract his sticky fingers. But when George himself is kidnapped by Pilfer Academy, a whole new world of thievery begins. As the newest student of this secret school, George becomes the star pupil of an academy that trains crooks and criminals. Taught by completely absurd teachers and surrounded by sneaky and amoral classmates, George must find his way through Stealth 101, Practical Applications of Breaking and Entering, and Intro to Gadgetry. Does he have what it takes to stay at the top of his class? Following The Only Thing Worse than Witches (2014), Magaziner creates another weird and silly world that mirrors Hogwarts without the magic. The allure of bad behavior permeates the story, like the midnight theft of the teacher’s stash of Triple-dipple Ultra-deluxe Melty Creamy Creamer Rainbow Swizzle Milk Munch ice cream. Although the story’s obvious contrast between friend and foe steers the audience to younger middle graders, the universal struggle to learn to trust a new friend will appeal to many. The midterm exam becomes the true test of George’s success. Is he just too nice to be a thief?

A fun fantasy romp. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3919-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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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

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Pippi is an inspired creation knit from daydreams.

PIPPI LONGSTOCKING

A fresh delicious fantasy that children will love.

In the character of 9-year-old Pippi Longstocking, who was lucky to have no parents to tell her what to do, is a juvenile Robin Hood with the authority of Mammy Yokum and a Mighty Mouse. Pippi- red headed, in longstockings (one black and one brown), and the strongest girl in the world was the friend of Tommy and Annika. Calmly and ingeniously she put down the enemy forces of the adult world — with a serene efficiency. The teacher was baffled by her logic in pointing out the futility of learning arithmetic; bullies she hoisted on trees; at the circus Pippi rode bareback, walked the tightrope, and wrestled the wrestling champ; cream and sugar flowed (on the floor) when Pippi attended a ladies' coffee party where she revealed "horrid things" with the complacency of Eliza Doolittle. Champion of fun, freedom and fantasy and long happy thoughts,

Pippi is an inspired creation knit from daydreams.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 1950

ISBN: 978-0-14-030957-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1950

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