Lenny and Mel: After-School Confidential (Lenny and Mel Series)

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Overview

Lenny and Mel are back -- but they're undercover.

The boys are on the school paper, writing about after-school clubs as only they can ("Chess Team...Fun time or deadly sport?"). The brothers pose as members of the Glee Club, where they question the meaning of "glee"; Debate Club, where they debate the merits of Mel cleaning his room; and Future Farmers of America, where the future looks bleak...and they write ...

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Overview

Lenny and Mel are back -- but they're undercover.

The boys are on the school paper, writing about after-school clubs as only they can ("Chess Team...Fun time or deadly sport?"). The brothers pose as members of the Glee Club, where they question the meaning of "glee"; Debate Club, where they debate the merits of Mel cleaning his room; and Future Farmers of America, where the future looks bleak...and they write about what really goes on in these clubs.

Facts...Are they true...or are they deadly?

Urged by their parents to join an after-school club, twin brothers Lenny and Mel are assigned by the teacher who runs the school newspaper to report on the school's other organizations.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lenny and Mel: After-School Confidential by Erik Kraft rejoins the duo as they begin a new academic year researching after-school clubs for the school paper. A running gag has them crafting headlines modeled on television news scare tactics. "If all you do is sing, why don't they call it the Singing Club?" says Mel. "I don't know,... I guess Glee Club is easier to print on the T-shirts," says a singer. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-In their third outing in this silly series, Lenny and Mel are in search of an after-school club to join. When they walk into the newspaper office to get ideas, they are sent to interview the new gym teacher. Each chapter is devoted to a visit to a different club and ends with a zany, wry article by the pair, written on notebook paper. They visit the Debate Club when the topic is whether school uniforms are a good idea. Mel's mind turns to superhero costumes, and Lenny wonders about cowboy hats and glasses with fake noses and mustaches. Adults are not portrayed favorably in these vignettes; for example, the Poetry Club teacher jumps onto the desk and yells weird verses. The episodic plot ends abruptly. Character and setting are skipped over; only the CIP states that Lenny and Mel are twins. Simplistic, imaginative cartoons, including a drawing of a "wedgie," accompany the spare, straight-to-the-joke text. Plot and characterization are developed better in Jon Scieszka's "Time Warp Trio" series (Viking) and Dav Pilkey's "Captain Underpants" and "Ricky Ricotta" series (both Scholastic).-Debbie Stewart Hoskins, Grand Rapids Public Library, MI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The slacker sibs are back for a third outing, this time as investigative reporters off to check out the seamy underside of after-school clubs. Unfortunately, Mel's dreams of Pulitzer, or at least National Enquirer, glory-" 'Chess team,' said Mel. 'Fun time or deadly sport?' 'Don't get carried away,' said Ms. Handsaw. 'Stick to the facts.' 'Facts,' said Mel. 'Are they true . . . or are they deadly?' "-come to naught, as there isn't much muck to rake in a Debate Club argument over school uniforms ("Mel wondered if they meant superhero uniforms"), a Poetry Club headed by beatnik teacher Mr. D'Addio, or a one-member FFA that cultivates plastic plants. Lenny and Mel are unimpressed, as their pithy reports, reproduced along with Kraft's evocatively unambitious line drawings, reflect to a tee. Young readers fond of characters who are a bit too smart for their own good should be amused. (Fiction. 8-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689851094
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 7/1/2004
  • Series: Lenny and Mel Series
  • Pages: 64
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.28 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Read an Excerpt

From Chapter One: Not Again!

Ah, summer vacation. A time to sit back and do nothing. A time to avoid schoolyard bullies and homework. A time that always ends too soon.

"Who's excited to go back to school?" asked Lenny and Mel's father.

"Is that a trick question?" asked Lenny.

"Not really," said their father.

"Not me," said Mel.

"Well, your mother and I were thinking..." their father started to say.

Uh-oh, thought Lenny. They're up to something.

"...that you guys might like school a little bit more if you were to join a club."

"Aw, man," said Lenny.

"Come on, it'll be fun," said their father. "You'll meet new people and learn new skills."

"Is there a monkey club?" asked Mel.

"I don't think so," said their father.

"That's the club I want to join," said Mel.

"Where are you going to get monkeys?" asked Lenny.

"We don't really need monkeys," said Mel. "We can just sit around and draw monkeys and talk about monkeys. And maybe write letters to monkeys -- if anyone knows one."

"You need to join a club that the school offers," said their father. "You can talk to one of the teachers if you need help choosing one. We'll pick you up at the school once you get out."

"There better be a monkey club," said Mel.

"Oh, it's you two," said the principal, Mr. Fudgerson.

"Our parents said we have to join an after-school club," said Lenny.

"We need help choosing one," said Mel.

"Well, detention is always very popular," said Mr. Fudgerson. "But hopefully you wouldn't be there every day. Anyway, the school newspaper usually writes about the clubs. If I had a paper, you could look in there." He thought for a minute. "Oryou could just go join the school newspaper. They're a club. They probably need people. Do you like to write about stuff?"

"We can do that," said Lenny.

"So, why don't you give it a shot?" asked Mr. Fudgerson.

"This just in -- okay!" said Mel.

"He said school newspaper, not TV news," said Lenny.

"Thank you, Lenny," said Mel. "Now, let's see what's on in the world of sports."

"Let's go," said Lenny.

Newsies

The boys walked into the newspaper office. Mr. Fudgerson hadn't mentioned that Ms. Handsaw ran the newspaper.

"What do you two want?" said Ms. Handsaw. "Detention is down the hall."

"We need to waste time after school," said Lenny.

"Mr. Fudgerson said that this is the place," said Mel.

"Hmmph," said Ms. Handsaw. "Well, I don't want you two just hanging around here bothering me. You have to do work." She looked at a list on her desk. "Here, someone needs to interview the new gym teacher. Take this notebook and go."

Lenny picked up the notebook, and they headed off to the gym.

"Are you Mr. Nizbecki?" Mel said to the sweaty man sitting on the gym floor.

"Yes, I am," said the man.

"Have you been exercising?" asked Lenny.

"No," said Mr. Nizbecki. "The heater in my office is broken. I can't turn it off."

"Oh," said Lenny.

"You have a big hole in your sweatpants," said Mel.

"Yes," said Mr. Nizbecki. "My neighbor's dog decided he wanted to eat my pants. I wasn't able to get away fast enough."

"Why did he want to eat your pants?" asked Lenny. "Did you have a hamburger in your pocket?"

"Sweatpants don't have pockets," said Mr. Nizbecki. "Well, at least not the kind I like. Anyway, what can I do for you boys?"

"We're here to interview you for the school paper," said Mel.

"Oh," said Mr. Nizbecki. "Well, what would you like to know?"

The boys thought for a minute. They hadn't planned this far ahead.

"Um, do you like teaching gym?" asked Lenny.

"Yes," said Mr. Nizbecki.

"Have you been teaching for a long time?" asked Mel.

"Yes, I have," said Mr. Nizbecki.

The boys thought for a little while longer.

"Have you ever eaten a whole pie?" asked Mel.

"A big pie or a little pie?" asked Mr. Nizbecki.

"Any pie will do," said Mel.

"Hmm," said Mr. Nizbecki. "I suppose I have."

There was a long silence.

"I guess that's it," said Lenny. "Thank you for your time."

The boys went back to the newspaper room.

"There's still time left," said Ms. Handsaw. "Work on your story until it's time to go."

The boys sat down with their notebook and wrote away.

Exciting New Gym Teacher

By Lenny and Mel

Mr. Nizbecki is the new gym teacher. He has been teaching gym for a while, but not long enough that he is able to outrun dogs. In his spare time he eats whole pies and sews the holes in his sweatpants. Hooray for Mr. Nizbecki, even if he sweats too much.

Copyright © 2004 by Erik P. Kraft

Newsies

The boys walked into the newspaper office. Mr. Fudgerson hadn't mentioned that Ms. Handsaw ran the newspaper.

"What do you two want?" said Ms. Handsaw. "Detention is down the hall."

"We need to waste time after school," said Lenny.

"Mr. Fudgerson said that this is the place," said Mel.

"Hmmph," said Ms. Handsaw. "Well, I don't want you two just hanging around here bothering me. You have to do work." She looked at a list on her desk. "Here, someone needs to interview the new gym teacher. Take this notebook and go."

Lenny picked up the notebook, and they headed off to the gym.

"Are you Mr. Nizbecki?" Mel said to the sweaty man sitting on the gym floor.

"Yes, I am," said the man.

"Have you been exercising?" asked Lenny.

"No," said Mr. Nizbecki. "The heater in my office is broken. I can't turn it off."

"Oh," said Lenny.

"You have a big hole in your sweatpants," said Mel.

"Yes," said Mr. Nizbecki. "My neighbor's dog decided he wanted to eat my pants. I wasn't able to get away fast enough."

"Why did he want to eat your pants?" asked Lenny. "Did you have a hamburger in your pocket?"

"Sweatpants don't have pockets," said Mr. Nizbecki. "Well, at least not the kind I like. Anyway, what can I do for you boys?"

"We're here to interview you for the school paper," said Mel.

"Oh," said Mr. Nizbecki. "Well, what would you like to know?"

The boys thought for a minute. They hadn't planned this far ahead.

"Um, do you like teaching gym?" asked Lenny.

"Yes," said Mr. Nizbecki.

"Have you been teaching for a long time?" asked Mel.

"Yes, I have," said Mr. Nizbecki.

The boys thought for a little while longer.

"Have you ever eaten a whole pie?" asked Mel.

"A big pie or a little pie?" asked Mr. Nizbecki.

"Any pie will do," said Mel.

"Hmm," said Mr. Nizbecki. "I suppose I have."

There was a long silence.

"I guess that's it," said Lenny. "Thank you for your time."

The boys went back to the newspaper room.

"There's still time left," said Ms. Handsaw. "Work on your story until it's time to go."

The boys sat down with their notebook and wrote away.

Exciting New Gym Teacher

By Lenny and Mel

Mr. Nizbecki is the new gym teacher. He has been teaching gym for a while, but not long enough that he is able to outrun dogs. In his spare time he eats whole pies and sews the holes in his sweatpants. Hooray for Mr. Nizbecki, even if he sweats too much.

Copyright © 2004 by Erik P. Kraft

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Table of Contents

Not Again! 1
Newsies 5
That's Debatable 11
Glee! 19
But Is It Art? 23
Now You're Cooking 29
Poetry Club Freak-out! 33
Farms of the Future 39
Dinner 45
You're Dreaming, Mel 49
Club Club 53
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    One Weird Year

    "Lenny and Mel" is the first in a series of delightfully strange books by writer/artist Erik P. Kraft about two brothers and their unique take on the world about them; in this case, the celebration of a calendar year's worth of holiday festivities. The book, unfortunately, was narrowly marketed to only young readers as older readers and adults would surely find much pleasure in these rather subversive little episodes, recounting the wit of a young Woody Allen in his most inspired New Yorker days. Young readers will delight in what on the surface seems like childhood silliness, but older, more sophisticated readers will recognize the greater subleties of humor, recounting the type of nostalgic, but not unkind humor that was popularized by such classics as the film "A Christmas Story".

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