THE WAR BETWEEN THE PITIFUL TEACHERS AND THE SPLENDID KIDS by Stanley Kiesel

THE WAR BETWEEN THE PITIFUL TEACHERS AND THE SPLENDID KIDS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Kiesel's imagination runs to the outrageous. His hero, Skinny Malinky, is an abandoned problem-child only six or so when he organizes the kids at Scratchland School, an educational dumping ground, in an all-out war against the teachers. One of his generals is wild and woolly Big Alice Eyesore, born of psychiatrists but raised in the woods by a hyena. When Big Alice eats one of the teachers the faculty realizes the inadequacy of such ordinary weapons as the new Princeton TTTD (testing them to death). With the help of mastermind capitalist Mr. Foreclosure, a mutant red ant, the teachers unfairly defeat Big Alice and--with their terrifying new weapon, the Status Quo Solidifier--turn the kids into docile Young People. But Skinny escapes the Solidifier and gets some unexpected help from the Bookworms, kids who have long since taken to the sewers so they can read in peace. A few other kids have also escaped. However, when the kids at last take over, they show little more talent for running a peace, and little more consideration for the Bookworms and the unfortunate Young People, than did the vanquished teachers. Kiesel misses the mythic, monstrous vitality he seems to be aiming for; and though the story works best at ten-to-eleven level, the name jokes and satirical pokes are geared to older kids or even teachers. (The J. Edgar Prime Mover Obedience School, the Glossalalia School of Business and Performing Arts, and the Auto-da-Fe Vocational School are some of the more accessible.) However, Kiesel rates points for unconventionality. Kids won't doubt that he's on their side; and if nothing else, this offers relief from shallow realism on one hand and genteel fantasy on the other.

Pub Date: Dec. 10th, 1981
Publisher: Unicorn/Dutton