Alexander suspects Mrs. Penrose is a vampire; that mystery is the spark that ignites an exciting year.
Alexander shares his suspicion (after snooping in Mrs. Penrose’s journal) with his multicultural group of friends and invites them to work with him on an investigation, writing it all in the blank book he got for his birthday. When Mrs. Penrose discovers the secret class project, she reveals the meaning of the cryptic lines in her journal: she’s pregnant. Instead of being angry, though, she encourages the students to use the book in their free time to practice writing. When money-hungry Carly learns of a story-writing contest for second through fifth grades, the kids plan a collaborative entry. Letters to a favorite author bring encouraging responses. Then Mrs. Penrose goes on leave, and she’s replaced with Mr. Pinkerton, a regimented substitute teacher. Can the writers of Delite Elementary keep their collaborative project alive, or will Mr. Pinkerton quash their creative spark? Using different typefaces and distinctive voices to allow the characters to tell their own stories (and sneakily teach such writing concepts as story construction and figurative language), Amato has crafted an enjoyable and often humorous metanovel. Both the characters and their writing come across as entirely genuine. (Art not seen.)
Great fun, especially for budding writers; they’ll find kindred spirits within. (Fiction. 9-12)