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)