Sixth-grader Matthew is the class tease; and some of his "jokes," like putting gum in a girl's long hair, are more mean than funny. His most outspoken animosity is directed at his 13-year-old sister, Amanda, who reciprocates in kind: their incessant bickering is painfully true to life. Matthew has other troubles: he's one of the youngest and shortest in his class; Mom is a health-food nut who barely relents enough to allow Matthew a little junk food for the 11th birthday party that climaxes the story; he can't spell (though he's a computer whiz); and the girls in his class are finally so outraged by his tricks that they form a club to retaliate and picket his party. With the collaboration of his father (revealed to be an unreformed practical joker himself), Matthew manages to negotiate a treaty, and the girls are included in the festivities. Danziger's first book about a boy is for slightly younger readers than The Cat Ate My Gymsuit (1974), etc. Matthew is a believable enfant terrible whose glimmers of affection for Amanda hint that a mellower Matthew may eventually emerge. Readers of a similar age are sure to be amused by the authentic details of the pranks (including imitation dog do-do) and the satirical exaggeration (though adults may find the depiction of Mom over-harsh). A scene when Matthew and his parents engage in a water fight is truly comic. Not as deft, or as deep, as Byars, but sure to entertain.