Fourth grader Scab McNally has a real quandary on his hands. During a fishing expedition with his two best friends and new favorite doggy companion, golden retriever Joe, he's convinced that he glimpsed some kind of swamp creature. All Scab needs to do is get permission to go back out on Beeson's Lake with another fishing rod (and some special handcrafted dinosaur-spying inventions, of course!) and he'll be able to find proof. But before she'll let him back out on the water, Scab's mom insists that he pass the ...
Fourth grader Scab McNally has a real quandary on his hands. During a fishing expedition with his two best friends and new favorite doggy companion, golden retriever Joe, he's convinced that he glimpsed some kind of swamp creature. All Scab needs to do is get permission to go back out on Beeson's Lake with another fishing rod (and some special handcrafted dinosaur-spying inventions, of course!) and he'll be able to find proof. But before she'll let him back out on the water, Scab's mom insists that he pass the swimming class he's being forced to take with his "smart times ten" twin sister Isabelle. That means Scab has to master swimming in the super deep end of the pool, and Scab is NOT ready for that! So, it's back to his top secret lab to diagram some special schemes and plans for the occasion. Will any of them go awry? Well, it wouldn't be any fun if they didn't, would it?
Salvatore Wallingford McNally, nicknamed Scab, uses his scientific studies for an even more practical purpose than annoying his twin sister: getting out of his dreaded swimming lessons. He'd rather spend his early-morning hours relaxing with his fishing buddies than diving in the deep end, but his outlandish pranks threaten to derail his summer plans. When his elusive catch slips away, Scab concocts a plan to hook the dinosaur believed to be hiding in the lake. His fast-paced first-person narration features punchy one-liners and revels in revolting gags to propel the unlikely events, though nuanced characterization reveals some complexity as Scab struggles for his peers' acceptance. His flippant, comic voice resonates in his frequent journal lists. He outlines his quirkiest fears, including a phobia of the letter G. "I can't write it in cursive. My teacher Miss Sweetandsour says my G's are saggy. So are her ears." Paillot's angular drawings suit the characters's zany antics. The Secrets of a Lab Rat series serves up another chuckle-inducing helping with this second installment. (Fiction. 8-11)
- Jennie DeGenaro
Middle school boys usually look for books they can relate to, and this just happens to be the book they may be looking for. Scab McNally, the protagonist, has a twin sister, Isabelle, who is his nemesis. Scab is always getting into minor scrapes, while Isabelle appears to be perfect in every way. Although Scab is constantly in trouble, he remains the leader of his two best friends, not counting Joe, his dog. Scab thinks of himself as an inventor, however, his inventions never seem to work out. His last invention does not discover the dinosaur in Beeson's Lake as he expected, however, an object is found that appears of more value than an extinct dinosaur. Scab also learns something about himself that he did not know. Trudy Trueit has published more than forty titles for young readers. The illustrator, Jim Paillot, drew the humorous black-and-white drawings and can be found in Arizona with his wife, two children, dogs, hamsters, and lizard. Reviewer: Jennie DeGenaro
School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—Scab McNally is back in this laugh-out-loud volume. With high energy and ingenious ideas, the 10-year-old skates (just barely!) through one sticky situation after another. The plot focuses on a dinosaurlike creature he spots while fishing with his buddies, but nonstop goofiness, plot-related or not, is the real draw here. Cartoon drawings and plenty of sidebars full of Scab's secrets, tips, and other hilarious insider information break up the text. A solid step up from Captain Underpants.—Amanda Moss Struckmeyer, Middleton Public Library, WI
Trudi Trueit knew she’d found her life’s passion after writing (and directing) her first play in fourth grade. Since then, she’s been a newspaper journalist, television news reporter and anchor, media specialist, freelance writer, and is now a children’s book author. She has published more than forty fiction and nonfiction titles for young readers and lives near Seattle, Washington.