Lord of the Fries

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Funny, provocative stories by the award-winning author whom "The Hungry Mind Review" has called the "master of the glimpse". This wonderfully wise and witty new collection is full of surprises as ordinary kids in offbeat situations uncover the unexpected -- about themselves and others.

A collection of short stories in which Canadian young people interact with the eccentric and vivid figures of their communities, schools, and ...

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Overview

Funny, provocative stories by the award-winning author whom "The Hungry Mind Review" has called the "master of the glimpse". This wonderfully wise and witty new collection is full of surprises as ordinary kids in offbeat situations uncover the unexpected -- about themselves and others.

A collection of short stories in which Canadian young people interact with the eccentric and vivid figures of their communities, schools, and families.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The eponymous "Lord of the Fries," a grouchy cook with two teenage detectives on his trail to discover the cause of his surliness, is just the first of the quirky characters spotlighted in seven vibrant stories. There is also Billy Bones, an ancient man, who everyone thinks is "touched in the head," and Jim, the mute, fatherless 11-year-old, who becomes his confidante; there is Luc (short for Lucifer?), whose devilish pranks turn choirboy Rodney's life into a living hell. In a unique conglomeration of slapstick humor, wistful moments and poignant outcomes, Wynne-Jones (The Book of Changes; Stephen Fair) sets up almost bigger-than-life situations and conjures offbeat relationships. Readers are able to explore new territories, like the secret world lying inside the hole at the foot of a 12-year-old's bed and the "aquarium-like" classroom for gifted children, where recent inductee Garnet feels like a fish out of water. Fresh dialogue, sympathetic and idiosyncratic protagonists, and surprises around every corner -- these have become Wynne-Jones's calling cards, and he just gets better and better. Ages 10-14.
Children's Literature - Diane P. Monnier
Maybe you CAN tell a book by its cover. Such is the case with the oddball cover caricature of the much feared "Fries," small town French Fry cook and title character of the first of seven quirky short stories written by Canadian Wynne-Jones. This cover seems to reach out and grab any reader looking for the truly unusual. Sometimes comic, often thought provoking, the entire collection offers young adults a chance to laugh at a host of bizarre, original characters placed in situations both realistic as well as fantastic. In a world where good short story collections for teens are few and far between, this one with surprises lurking in almost every story is a winner.
Library Journal
Schroeder weaves an engrossing tale of love and loss in her captivating, beautifully written second novel (after Solitary Places, LJ 9/15/94). Set in present-day Gettsyburg, PA, the book has multiple plot lines that mesh together brilliantly. Allison Carver, the ministers wife, has lost her youngest and favorite daughter in a tragic freak accident. Chief of Police Cal Daviess wife has left him after 40 years of marriage to spread her wings. In the midst of this personal pain, the towns churches are being burned to the ground. Whos behind these frightening arsons? Is it Ellis Burns, menacing yet ultimately gentle Vietnam vet and town hermit? Although the story is set in the present, the richness of Gettysburgs history makes it a character in itselfa crucial part of the plots ebb and flow. West Virginian Schroeder is a Southern writer to the core, and her prose is simply stellar. Shes an author to watch. All public libraries (and any institution with a Civil War interest) should definitely purchase.Beth Gibbs, P.L. of Charlotte & Mecklenburg Cty., NC
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-The seven stories in this collection all feature instantly likable characters and intriguingly original plots. In the title story, two girls investigate a grumpy cook, hoping to turn his mysterious life into a money-making magazine article. "The Pinhole Camera" tells how two imaginative boys discover what they share, despite their differences. An L. M. Montgomery fanatic who can't act finds a different way to participate in a school play in "The Anne Rehearsals." Most of the stories range from 20 to 40 pages, offering enough room for twists and surprises. Several common threads unite the tales to make a pleasingly unified whole. All of the main characters have strong imaginations that play key roles in their stories and they make active choices that affect their outcomes. The teenage boy in "Ick," for instance, comes up with an ingenious and effective way to confront a flirtatious teacher, and a grieving boy makes a crucial connection with the stories told by an eccentric neighbor in "The Bermuda Triangle." In "The Chinese Babies," Molly manages to mend several rifts within her extended family. The tales all have clear messages, but Wynne-Jones deftly lets the meanings come out through the characters and events. Throughout the collection, the author's lively style and light touches of humor are evident. Another excellent collection of short stories from the author of Some of the Kinder Planets and The Book of Changes (both Orchard, 1995).-Steven Engelfried, West Linn Public Library, OR
Horn Book Magazine
Tim Wynne-Jones continues his successful scavenging for "story-building material" in his third collection of tales (after Some of the Kinder Planets and The Book of Changes). Some stories are stronger than others; readers will certainly have their favorites. But on the whole these seven stories plumb heaven and earth to reveal human nature with winning originality. Like the osprey in the title story who circles the skies, occasionally plummeting to earth for treasure, Wynne-Jones reveals himself "one of a kind." The creepy may turn angelic or the angelic creepy: in the title story, the gruff, scar-faced short-order French fries maven who will only identify himself as Rumpelstiltskin to intrusive Sam and Carrie reveals a heart of gold; in "Fallen Angel," mysterious Luc, with a voice like an angel, turns satanic when he locks narrator Rodney in his family barn and sets it ablaze. Through all his clever plot manipulation and character revelation, it is Wynne-Jones's sublime turns of phrase that will stay with the reader. When Rodney gets home from choir practice one evening, his father is displeased. "Displeased was a lot like angry, but with a British accent." Wynne-Jones has special fun with language in "The Anne Rehearsals" when narrator Carmen reverentially apes Maud Montgomery while celebrating the one hundred and twenty-first birthday of Anne of Green Gables ("Things seem to be going to the demnition bowwows!"). The complexities and intricacies of families and friends are viewed, as in one story, as if through a "Pinhole Camera." Like that camera, Wynne-Jones focuses his attention "like a hole into the darkness, a hole that [leads] to somewhere bright."
Kirkus Reviews
Wynne-Jones (Some of the Kinder Planets, 1995, etc.) gets off to a relatively slow start here, but finishes strong. In most of the seven stories young people find, or re-find, friends: Garnet engineers an effective rebuke ("Ick") when a new teacher starts hitting on classmate Annaliese; a malicious "Fallen Angel" joins Rodney's church choir and becomes a dulcet-voiced but deadly rival; in other stories, kindness brings profound rewards, and two classmates discover that they've built elaborate, but very different fantasy worlds in the woods and fields between their homes. In the title story, two nosey young people invade the privacy of a surly short-order cook and then have to decide whether or not to go public with the heartwarming human interest story they discover. These economically told tales, leavened with generous quantities of humor and tension, carry their messages lightly, and deserve a welcome from all fans of thoughtful, perceptive writing. (Short stories. 11-14) .
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789426239
  • Publisher: DK Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/1999
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 224
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 780L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.78 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 0.85 (d)

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