MY LIFE AS A FIFTH-GRADE COMEDIAN

From the author of The Drowned (1995), etc., a boy who seems headed straight for The School for Intervention, just like his brother before him. Bobby's constant class clowning has driven his principal, Dr. Deal, to the limits; his father has given up on him, expecting—and getting—only the worst; his brother, Jimmy, eggs him on. Only his teacher, Mr. Matous, is on his side, and Bobby's not making that easy. Then he is given one last chance—the job of organizing a school-wide comedy competition. In this misleadingly titled book, the jokes fall flat (many simply because they appear in the chapter headings before they come up naturally in the text), but the drama soars. Tensions run high as Bobby struggles to channel his comedic energy and drive into the productive efforts suggested by his understanding teacher, while also dealing with pressures from his brother and nay-saying father. Things may work out a little too well in the end, but scenes of Bobby's home life and his relationship with his friends and relatives make the book hard to put down. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 1997

ISBN: 0-06-026602-3

Page Count: 183

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1997

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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

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DONAVAN'S WORD JAR

Donavan's friends collect buttons and marbles, but he collects words. ``NUTRITION,'' ``BALLYHOO,'' ``ABRACADABRA''—these and other words are safely stored on slips of paper in a jar. As it fills, Donavan sees a storage problem developing and, after soliciting advice from his teacher and family, solves it himself: Visiting his grandma at a senior citizens' apartment house, he settles a tenants' argument by pulling the word ``COMPROMISE'' from his jar and, feeling ``as if the sun had come out inside him,'' discovers the satisfaction of giving his words away. Appealingly detailed b&w illustrations depict Donavan and his grandma as African-Americans. This Baltimore librarian's first book is sure to whet readers' appetites for words, and may even start them on their own savory collections. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: June 30, 1994

ISBN: 0-06-020190-8

Page Count: 72

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1994

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