July 29, 2010

The Dunderheads - by Paul Fleischman

Here's a school story that will have you cheering.  A class full of oddball kids (sounds kind of like The Fabled Fourth Grade, doesn't it?) has to deal with an evil, nasty teacher, worse than Ms. Viola Swamp.  Her name is Miss Breakbone, and she is the nastiest of nasties.  She has an electric chair in her classroom, and gives herself a gold star whenever she makes a student cry.  When she confiscates one student's toy cat, which was to be a gift to his mother, she has gone too far.  When the students form a group (The Dunderheads) and develop a plan to get even with Miss Breakbone, the story really heats up.

Though this is classified in my local library as an "easy picture book", it's so much more than that.  It's more like a   mini-novel for third graders, but the interesting characters and detailed, hilarious wording and illustrations will make it a favorite of older children as well.  This will make an ideal fourth grade read-aloud for me, and I can't wait to try it out. This book is kind of like a simpler version of Gordan Korman's Swindle, but better, and with more memorable characters.  Check it out.  It will only take you ten minutes to read, but your laughter will continue for much longer.

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