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SHREDDERMAN: SECRET IDENTITY by Wendelin Van Draanen

SHREDDERMAN: SECRET IDENTITY

By Wendelin Van Draanen (Author) , Brian Biggs (Illustrator)

Age Range: 8 - 10

Pub Date: Feb. 10th, 2004
ISBN: 0-375-82351-4
Publisher: Knopf

In a Sammy Keyes for younger readers, Van Draanen opens a new series featuring a fifth-grade math wiz with this quick-paced take on the perennial “dealing with a bully” theme. Weary of being terrorized by Alvin “Bubba” Bixby while grown-ups turn a blind eye, Nolan “Byrd-the-Nerd” Byrd installs a digital camera in his backpack to catch Bubba in the act, and then posts the incriminating photos on a secretly created Web site. The ploy does get Bixby in hot water, particularly with his (predictably) abusive father—but the author suggests more effective alternative strategies by having Nolan gain the self-confidence to stand up to bullying, even at the price of being beaten up, and to refuse to play the nickname game. Biggs contributes sketchy “Beavis and Butthead”–style vignettes; the author adds a supporting cast of unconventional characters, and pushes off a rolling tangle of subplots to set the stage for further exploits from “Shredderman.” They should get an enthusiastic welcome. (Fiction. 8-10)