School Library JournalGr 2-4-- J. B. Higgenbottom (nicknamed Wigglebottom) has a problem. Because his sister is allergic to animals, he has nothing to contribute when his fifth-grade class wins the honor of having the annual Parade of Pets. When he accidentally encounters a few ants while eating a cupcake, an idea is born. You guessed it. The villain of the story is classmate Buddy, whose father owns a pet store. Unfortunately, the action proceeds without much excitement. Readers may say, ``O. K., what next?'' or ``Oh, that's clever,'' but definitely not ``Wow.'' Even the escape of Buddy's rhea isn't that dramatic. A beginning chapter book with an average story line and mediocre black-and-white cartoon illustrations. --Lynnea McBurney, Woodstone Elementary School, San Anotonio, TX
Chris ShermanBuddy Zimmers has made J.B. Higgenbottom's life miserable for years. In fact, it was Buddy who stuck J.B. with the awful nickname Wigglebottom. At the end of each year, the boys' school has a contest, and the winning classroom presents a Parade of Pets to the rest of the school. J.B.'s class always seems to win, but because Katie, J.B.'s little sister, is allergic to animals, he never has a traditional pet to bring. Once he made the dismal mistake of bringing worms. This year J.B. is determined things will be different. While watching a swarm of ants, he has a brainstorm. He captures the ants and writes "Kate is Great" on a board with honey. As he releases the ants, they swarm over the honey, forming the letters with their bodies. When it's time for Buddy's act, disaster occurs, and J.B. not only triumphs, but also witnesses the downfall of a tyrant. Any reader who has ever been victimized by a bully, been the last kid picked to play on a team, or been stuck with a hated nickname will cheer J.B. and his performing ants. A nicely paced story with realistically portrayed characters and cliff-hanging chapters just right for reading aloud.
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