Magic Delivery

( 1 )

Overview

Nick is a natural born businessman. His schoolmates think he's a heartless hustler, but secretly he's just trying to earn money to help his mother, who works two jobs. Eager to be part of the popular circle, Nick wheedles an invitation to Hayley's upcoming Halloween party by agreeing to get her the answers to a test. His goofy friend Burger wants to be part of the deal too, and he nearly blows it for Nick, but desperate Hayley finally caves. Nick and Burger are riding home high on their success—even on their old,...

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Magic Delivery

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Overview

Nick is a natural born businessman. His schoolmates think he's a heartless hustler, but secretly he's just trying to earn money to help his mother, who works two jobs. Eager to be part of the popular circle, Nick wheedles an invitation to Hayley's upcoming Halloween party by agreeing to get her the answers to a test. His goofy friend Burger wants to be part of the deal too, and he nearly blows it for Nick, but desperate Hayley finally caves. Nick and Burger are riding home high on their success—even on their old, beat-up bikes—when they see a delivery van careen off the side of the road. The boys could have sworn that the driver was a bear . . . but that couldn't be right. Or could it? Turns out the van is carrying a load of costumes. With the driver nowhere in sight, Nick's first thought is about how much money he could get by selling the merchandise. Burger just wants to try them out, for fun. In the gorilla costume he chooses, Burger is very convincing. Is that just Burger fooling around, as usual, or is there something strange about these outfits? Once again Clete Barrett Smith makes a wild premise believable and funny in a story perfectly pitched to middle graders.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A middle school con artist finds unexpected possibilities in magic. Middle schooler Nick Stringer can make as much as $100 from his classmates for throwing a test or hacking a teacher's computer. When the beautiful and wealthy Hayley Millard comes to him for help, Nick and best friend Burger's negotiations include something even more valuable than money: an invitation to her Halloween party. Things take a strange turn when a delivery truck driven by what looks like a bear almost runs them down as they are riding home. They investigate, finding a truck filled with magical costumes. While wearing the gorilla costume, Burger finds he can swing from the roof. Nick's robot costume comes with laser technology and the ability to fly. Curious, the boys return to the truck to find the school's bullies have also discovered the magical cargo. It is up to them to save the town and the hapless delivery driver from magic gone haywire. Unfortunately, while the premise is quirky, the execution is less than masterful. The relationship between Nick, the good-hearted hustler, and Burger, the slack-jawed sidekick, holds promise, but any authenticity is lost in a sea of predictable humor and one-dimensional characterizations. The depiction of middle school dynamics, likewise, intrigues, but the magic angle almost intrudes on rather than enhances the tale. An unfortunate misstep from an otherwise solid author. (Fantasy. 8-12)—Kirkus

Nick is known for being the cool kid who can make things, sometimes slightly shady things, happen, but even he has his weak spots, such as his big, slightly dolt-ish friend Burger. Even Nick is thrown when he and Burger witness a runaway truck, seemingly driven by a bear, careen off a cliff; it turns out the truck carries costumes that can (temporarily) turn you into whatever the outfit represents. Even after Nick and friends learn the backstory behind the bear (he's a man who got stuck in a costume while on his first delivery assignment for a secret organization with which his family has been involved for over 300 years), they're tempted to use the costumes for amusement and possible havoc. What follows is a mostly ridiculous, enormously satisfying adventure as Nick and Burger try to put things right, since they feel partially responsible for the truck wreck in the first place. The deliciously creepy Mary, the brains behind the destructive secret operation that controls more than it seems to, is a great and atmospheric touch. Although the magical elements propel the story, there is a surprising amount of depth and vulnerability in Nick as a protagonist who secretly mostly acts out of consideration for others; Smith fans will recognize the emotional and philosophical layers that exist beneath the slightly scary, mostly madcap Halloween romp. Occasional full-page black and white illustrations offer a slick and enjoyably exaggerated loopiness in keeping with the story. AS—BCCB

Gr 4-6 Nick is the go-to guy for help at Bayside Middle School. He can delay a test or change your grade-all for a fee of course. This year, even Hayley Millard has asked him for help, in return for an invite to her famous Halloween party. Then Nick and his best buddy Burger witness a delivery truck go off a cliff and while trying to help they stumble across some Halloween costumes with very peculiar abilities, which they figure would be perfect for the party. But when the school bully and his crowd also find some of the special costumes, Hayley's Halloween party turns out much more scary than usual. Smith captures the essence of middle school and the teenage boy, with some well-placed exaggeration. An above average middle school adventure, zany and fast paced, with just enough magic to be dangerous. Gretchen Crowley, Alexandria City Public Libraries, VA—SLJ

PRAISE FOR ALIENS ON VACATION

ABC New Voices Selection for 2011—American Booksellers for Children

PRAISE FOR ALIENS ON VACATION

" . . . funny and relatable."—ALA Booklist

PRAISE FOR ALIENS ON VACATION

"A good choice for young science fiction fans, with special appeal to middle-school boys."—School Library Journal

PRAISE FOR ALIENS ON VACATION

" . . . worth curling up with on a summer afternoon, whether you're a kid or not."—Orson Scott Card, author of The Ender's Game

Magic costumes and middle-schoolers is a combination that goes astray in this humorous story. Nick Stringer and his best friend are almost run over by a delivery van driven by a human-like grizzly bear. They discover boxes of costumes, take two home, and discover that the costumes are magical. After releasing the human from his grizzly costume, Connor tells the boys a fantastical tale involving wormholes and a witch. Nick and Burger try to help, but not before a group of high school bullies discover the costumes to disastrous effect. Eventually, the boys outwit the bullies, the costumes are delivered on time, and Nick helps put Connor into a better position with the witch. This is a fast-paced story, with relatable characters and an unusual concept. The author cleverly uses "half-chapters" to fill readers in on Connor's backstory. Upper elementary/middle school readers will like this adventure. Laura D'Amato, Library Media Specialist, Berea, Ohio [Editor's Note: Available in e-book format.] Recommended—Library Media Connection

School Library Journal
06/01/2014
Gr 4–6—Nick is the go-to guy for help at Bayside Middle School. He can delay a test or change your grade—all for a fee of course. This year, even Hayley Millard has asked him for help, in return for an invite to her famous Halloween party. Then Nick and his best buddy Burger witness a delivery truck go off a cliff and while trying to help they stumble across some Halloween costumes with very peculiar abilities, which they figure would be perfect for the party. But when the school bully and his crowd also find some of the special costumes, Hayley's Halloween party turns out much more scary than usual. Smith captures the essence of middle school and the teenage boy, with some well-placed exaggeration. An above average middle school adventure, zany and fast paced, with just enough magic to be dangerous.—Gretchen Crowley, Alexandria City Public Libraries, VA
Kirkus Reviews
2014-06-01
A middle school con artist finds unexpected possibilities in…magic.Middle schooler Nick Stringer can make as much as $100 from his classmates for throwing a test or hacking a teacher’s computer. When the beautiful and wealthy Hayley Millard comes to him for help, Nick and best friend Burger’s negotiations include something even more valuable than money: an invitation to her Halloween party. Things take a strange turn when a delivery truck driven by what looks like a bear almost runs them down as they are riding home. They investigate, finding a truck filled with magical costumes. While wearing the gorilla costume, Burger finds he can swing from the roof. Nick’s robot costume comes with laser technology and the ability to fly. Curious, the boys return to the truck to find the school’s bullies have also discovered the magical cargo. It is up to them to save the town and the hapless delivery driver from magic gone haywire. Unfortunately, while the premise is quirky, the execution is less than masterful. The relationship between Nick, the good-hearted hustler, and Burger, the slack-jawed sidekick, holds promise, but any authenticity is lost in a sea of predictable humor and one-dimensional characterizations. The depiction of middle school dynamics, likewise, intrigues, but the magic angle almost intrudes on rather than enhances the tale.An unfortunate misstep from an otherwise solid author. (Fantasy. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423165972
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 8/5/2014
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 476,848
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Clete Barrett Smith (www.cletebarrettsmith.com) was a teacher for over ten years in Bellingham, WA. He has a master's degree in writing for young adults from Vermont College and has won several screenwriting awards. He used his experiences in the small towns and forested mountains of the Pacific Northwest when writing Aliens on Vacation, Alien on a Rampage, and Aliens in Disguise. Clete lives in Bellingham with his two daughters.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2014

    Really funny, fast-paced, imaginative -- perfectly written for k

    Really funny, fast-paced, imaginative -- perfectly written for kids in the target age group. Just as good as the author's Aliens series. I'd recommend this for all sorts of kids. Great book.

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