BRASS MONKEYS by Terry Caszatt


Age Range: 8 - 12
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Eighth-grader Eugene Wise accidentally knocked the principal off the stage during an assembly; no one believed it was an accident, and he was expelled. He and his single mother move to Grindsville, Mich., following a job lead for her in the hope that he can start over, too. Several kids in town seem to be expecting him and think he’ll fix the creepy problems at their school, which center on English teacher Mrs. Mingley. Incense, spies and hypnotic music rob kids of all hope and make them hate education. For the final stage of her plan, “Ming the Merciless” and her army of bad teachers transform kids into monkeys and drag them off to a subterranean anti-school. Eugene is the only hope for kids and schools across the country! Caszatt’s debut is a confusing, amateurish mish-mash. From Eugene’s unrealistic relationships (he’ll “risk everything to have [Harriet] back” after knowing her for all of a day) to nonsensical imagery (Mingley’s hair “glows like a nest of red snakes”—radioactive ones, apparently) to inane dialogue punctuated by ridiculous catchphrases (pingeroo, duwang), this feels like it had no editorial oversight. There’s no denying it has glimmers of imagination, but they are too few and way too far between. (Adventure. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-934133-30-9
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2011


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