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From the Dunderheads series, volume 2

by Paul Fleischman & illustrated by David Roberts

Pub Date: April 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7636-4543-4
Publisher: Candlewick

The Dunderheads are back in another amusing caper that’s sure to please fans of their earlier exploits (The Dunderheads, 2009).

Once again, Einstein narrates with tongue-in-cheek, deadpan humor. Along with his friends, he expects the last day of school to mean that they are rid of their nemesis/teacher, the evil Miss Breakbone. Sadly, they are wrong. Children and teacher alike try out for roles as extras in a film and find themselves together again. Worse, Miss Breakbone fingers Spider as a thief when a cat burglar strikes. Einstein, of course, comes up with the perfect plan to capture the real thief, capitalizing as before on his friends’ varied interests and abilities. Unfortunately, his plan falls through, and all of the kids wind up in the poky. How they succeed in solving the crimes and turning the tables on their arch enemy, Miss Breakbone, strains credibility but entertains all the same. It's not as though credibility is the point, after all. At least half the fun comes from Roberts’ clever illustrations, created in watercolor, pen and ink. As before, each Dunderhead’s appearance reveals his or her individuality; new characters are equally clearly limned. Some sly references might go over the heads of the intended audience (don’t miss Liza as Sally Bowles in the line-up of aspiring extras), but readers of all ages will enjoy poring over the pages to find the hidden humor.

Delightfully smart and deliciously funny—don’t miss it.

(Fiction. 7-9)