TIME FOR ANDREW

A GHOST STORY

Staying with Great-Aunt Blythe in the ancestral home while his parents are on a dig, "Drew" — so called because his great-grandfather Edward abhors his full name — is immediately aware of a presence in the attic. It's another boy, also named Andrew, also 12, and identical to Drew in appearance, though not in character. The gently reared Drew is timid; Andrew's a prankster and a daredevil, as Drew finds after Andrew persuades him to trade places so that Andrew's diptheria can be cured by modern medicine. Drew finds himself in 1910, where he faces an adoring younger brother's disgust at his sudden wimpiness, observes tomboyish older sister Hannah's romance, scraps with obnoxious Cousin Edward, and gets routine (though not vicious) punishments with Andrew's father's belt. Meanwhile, Andrew's life is saved, but — not sure he wants to switch back — he suggests a contest with the marbles he's hidden in the attic where the boys met. Hannah, who taught Andrew his skill, now helps Drew to win so that he can return to his own time. Like Pearce's Tom's Midnight Garden, the pleasurably atmospheric story ends with Drew's reunion with now elderly people from the past; the Missouri setting and neatly crafted, accessible plot make this a fine bridge to that British classic. Meanwhile, the sampling of past mores is as entertaining as it is instructive, and each boy's well-drawn character is believably enriched by emulating the other to preserve his disguise. Another solid and enjoyable performance from this popular, award-winning author. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 21, 1994

ISBN: 0-395-66556-6

Page Count: 168

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1994

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating...

FRINDLE

Nicholas is a bright boy who likes to make trouble at school, creatively. 

When he decides to torment his fifth-grade English teacher, Mrs. Granger (who is just as smart as he is), by getting everyone in the class to replace the word "pen'' with "frindle,'' he unleashes a series of events that rapidly spins out of control. If there's any justice in the world, Clements (Temple Cat, 1995, etc.) may have something of a classic on his hands. By turns amusing and adroit, this first novel is also utterly satisfying. The chess-like sparring between the gifted Nicholas and his crafty teacher is enthralling, while Mrs. Granger is that rarest of the breed: a teacher the children fear and complain about for the school year, and love and respect forever after. 

With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating tale—one to press upon children, and one they'll be passing among themselves. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-689-80669-8

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1996

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
more