Even though kids spend most of their days with one, desks can be very . . . surprising. Desks have a long and enduring history—from the spiked desks of the Middle Ages to the beanbag desks of the 1960s. School desks, in particular, can hide a wide variety of . . . let’s just say, “things.” In this tongue-in-cheek companion to Backpack Stories, Kevin O’Malley returns with six stories of desks gone wild. 
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Even though kids spend most of their days with one, desks can be very . . . surprising. Desks have a long and enduring history—from the spiked desks of the Middle Ages to the beanbag desks of the 1960s. School desks, in particular, can hide a wide variety of . . . let’s just say, “things.” In this tongue-in-cheek companion to Backpack Stories, Kevin O’Malley returns with six stories of desks gone wild. 
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this follow-up to Backpack Stories (2009), the reliably absurd O'Malley focuses his talents—not least of which is the ability to generate groan-inducing jokes page after page—on that timeless symbol of class oppression: the school desk. "The modern desk, so hard, so unforgiving, so extraordinarily uncomfortable," says the not-very-authoritative Dr. I.C. Clearly, who kicks off the book with a dubious overview of desk history. "The only thing that could make it better is summer vacation!" Like its predecessor, this outing is divided into short chapters, each reflecting a different aesthetic and a multitude of cultural references (the final story, involving a barrette and a wad of evil-minded used bubble gum, spoofs The Incredible Shrinking Man, with a little Journey to the Center of the Earth thrown in for good measure). Many stories also have a faint air of tongue-in-cheek menace, making them ideal read-aloud material for budding Rod Serlings or melodrama villains. "Now I will swallow you whole," proclaims the nefarious, relentlessly pursuing desk in the second nightmarish story. "This is your destiny! HA HA HA!" Well played, O'Malley, well played. Ages 7–9. (July)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
O'Malley uses his perceptive humor in comic-book style to tell six stories about school desks and the adventures around them. In the first, Dr. I.C. Clearly hosts History Man in a program devoted to the history of the desk, from cave boy times to the present. Next, young John falls asleep in class and finds himself chained by his evil desk. Escaping, John is pursued by the ever-larger desk. As it is about to swallow him, John wakes up, only to find that he is still "trapped" in the boring class. In "It Came from Within," perfect Sarah is finally upset, to the delight of the rest of her class. "Desk Time Jokes" is a collection of jokes. The last two stories deal with Dirk Savage, supergenius "Desktech," and the desk of the future; and the adventures of Sue Smallton, the Incredible Shrinking Supergirl. The fantasy is established from the front jacket illustration of an open desk with contents assembled to resemble a human face, while miniature students climb around it. On the end pages a scary desk smashes out of a doorway threatening, "You are doomed!" as a frightened youngster exclaims, "YIKES!" A couple of anthropomorphic desks have a short conversation on the title page in speech balloons. O'Malley's naturalistically painted mini-dramas are almost anticlimactic in their emotional content. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—In this follow-up to Backpack Stories (Albert Whitman, 2009), the desk—its past, future, and the horror it sometimes holds—is the subject of six punchy tales told in distinct sequential art. One selection is done in loose freehand with soft pencils; one is cross-hatched, inked, and colored; a couple are digital; one sports retro dot-matrix coloring; while the first combines nearly all those techniques. "History Man" is back with a survey of desk lore, including the spiked medieval desk to ensure that no one ever falls asleep in class, and the "lose the desk" beanbag movement of the 1960s. "Trapped" relates the nightmare of a young boy shackled to and chased by the desk. "It Came from Within" delivers a furry surprise (and a good punch line) to Sara, the perfect kid who is always prepared. "Desktec" is a daydream vision of what a desk could be (flat-screen TV, all-terrain four-wheel drive) if the right people were designing it. Then there are "Desktime Jokes" and the saga of "Sue Smallton: The Incredible Shrinking Supergirl," who dares to rescue and return a borrowed barrette from the depths of her stuffed-to-the-brim desk. Told with countless one-liners from the superhero and horror genres, this book is an extremely satisfying read for young people who are dealing with bragging, nagging kids and less-than-engaging lessons, and seeking some old-school comic relief.—Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781497612587
  • Publisher: Whitman, Albert & Company
  • Publication date: 3/25/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: NOOK Kids
  • Edition description: Digital Original
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 7 - 9 Years
  • File size: 31 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Kevin O’Malley was in the fourth grade when he decided to illustrate books for children. He has a wild sense of humor and it comes through loud and clear in his books. In 1992, he made his children’s book debut with Froggy Went A-Courting, based on a well known folk ballad. O’Malley has illustrated books written by other writers, such as Cinder Edna and Chanukah in Chelm and has worked in animating multimedia displays for clients including the Smithsonian Institution. His latest books range from nonfiction to outrageous humor. O’Malley lives in Baltimore, Maryland, with his artist wife and two sons. 
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