Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver continue their knee-slapping Hank Zipzer series with this meaty installment about the fourth-grader, his report card, and a batch of soy salami.
When Ms. Adolf hands Hank the telltale manila envelope -- with a nasty letter to Mr. and Mrs. Zipzer and a report card with three D's -- the kid wonders how he'll ever keep his parents away from it. So when Hank and his pals arrive at his mom's deli, the report card "accidentally" gets dumped into the soy salami that's being cooked up for Mr. Gristediano, New York's top grocery store owner. To keep Mr. G from getting sick, Hank schemes to intercept the salami that's en route to his apartment, but when Cheerio (the Zipzers' dachshund) meets the Gristedianos' Great Dane, love at first sight leads to utter mayhem. Thankfully, though, Mr. G is sympathetic about Hank's confession, and his mom's salami turns out to be a major hit.
Packed with lively turns of events that will keep audiences in stitches, Hank Zipzer #2 is even better than the first! Readers will understand the motivation behind Hank's hijinks -- who wants their parents to see a bad report card? -- and by the end, they'll want to learn more about Hank's ongoing bout with his learning differences. A Zipzer tale that's food for fun.
A new series-Hank Zipzer: The Mostly True Confessions of the World's Best Underachiever-starts off with a bang, thanks to these two misadventures of a fourth-grader with "learning challenges." Hank addresses readers directly with a deadpan voice. He lives in New York City with his crossword puzzle-addicted father, a mother who produces such dubious treats as vegetarian bologna at her deli ("Unfortunately for me, my lunch is her laboratory," says Hank), and his sister ("Emily the Perfect") and her pet iguana. When his teacher, Ms. Adolf, assigns a five-paragraph essay on what they did over the summer, Hank feels stymied until he decides to "build" his essay instead-a working model of Niagara Falls-and the plan backfires spectacularly. In the second book, Hank's report card (straight D's) winds up in the grinder for the soy salami that his mother hopes will attract the attention of the city's biggest supermarket chain. It's up to Hank to remedy the disaster. Both tales deftly blend comedy and pathos, and the exploration of Hank's academic struggles is never heavy-handed. The characters are well-drawn, from the endearingly hapless but determined Hank himself to a solid supporting cast that includes Hank's pals, his sympathetic grandfather and his arch-enemy, Nick McKelty (a bully with a head "the size of Rhode Island"). With snappy timing, pitch-perfect dialogue and a wise-cracking delivery, these two tales should attract an enthusiastic readership-not limited to, but certainly including, reluctant readers. Ages 8-12. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Hank Zipzer is a fourth grade boy with many problems. He is a poor student and also seems to act on impulse far too often. After he receives a very bad report card his actions lead to it being ground up into a batch of salami his mother is preparing in her delicatessen. When the salami is sent off for a taste test to a potential buyer for the product, Hank hatches up a scheme that is harebrained at best in order to recover the salami without giving away his bad grades. Naturally, disaster is the result. Hank is helped along by a couple of faithful friends and one adult, his grandfather, all of whom seem to understand him better than his parents. None of these other characters are particularly well developed, however. This book has some mildly amusing moments, but turns out to primarily be a vehicle for discussing children with "learning challenges," Hank's real problem. His parents seem to have been blissfully unaware of the real difficulties Hank has been facing in school, in spite of some advice from well meaning teachers. After testing, Hank is assured that the school will find out the best way he can learn, and everything will turn out well. Children with learning disabilities may enjoy reading about Hank, but this book is far from compelling and seems to over-simplify the challenges that Hank faces. 2003, Grosset and Dunlap, Ages 9 to 12.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-Hank Zipzer, a learning-challenged fourth grader, gets himself into lots of trouble when he tries to hide the fact that he received a number of "D's" on his report card. The fantastical, suspend-your-disbelief, rollicking and very funny solution that he and his friends invent, not to mention the desire to decipher the meaning of this book's title, will keep young readers turning the pages. Hank's relationship with his grandfather, his two best friends, his little sister, his parents, and, last but not least, his dog show that despite his problems at school, he has a big, loving heart and a way with people. Readers will smile in recognition of the character's dilemmas and laugh out loud at the slapstick, slippery slope of Hank's predicament.-Elizabeth Fernandez, Brunswick Middle School, Greenwich, CT Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.