Andrew North Blows up the World
Adam Selzer. Delacorte, $15.99 (128p) ISBN 978-0-385-73648-0
Selzer’s (How to Get Suspended and Influence People) madcap comedy stars a likable third-grader with an overblown imagination and ambitious plans. Convinced that his father and older brother, Jack, are undercover spies, Andrew aspires to enter the family business and become a super-spy with a pet monkey as sidekick. When the boy brings Jack’s calculator (which he’s sure is a “spy gadget”) to school, his teacher confiscates it and locks it in a storage room that is the domain of a grumpy janitor, who Andrew suspects is also a spy. The boy’s mission to retrieve the calculator before the janitor uses it to blow up the school and before his brother notices that it’s missing entails some crafty plotting that brings this fast-moving story to a tidy end. Selzer adds an affecting undercurrent: Andrew’s dealing with Jack’s remoteness since turning 13 (“I knew it was because he was busy with spy stuff, but it still stank. I missed hanging out with him”). Despite the narrator’s flights of fancy, he is a credible, down-to-earth kid. Ages 7–10. (Sept.)
BULLETIN FOR THE CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S BOOKS (review not online)
"Doesn't every school have its mysterious Storage Room B? This should make kids even more determined to find out what's in theres."