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Children's LiteratureBook #2 of the "My Weird School" series introduces early readers to the eccentric principal of second-grader A. J.'s school. A. J.'s teacher, Miss Daisy, (in Book #1, Miss Daisy Is Crazy!) had her own methods of teaching the class reading and math—pretending she didn't know how to do either—and now it's Mr. Klutz's turn to try his hand at motivation and incentives. He gets off to a false start by giving A. J. a chocolate bar before he's done his assignment, but soon catches on and has the whole school doing millions of math problems and writing a million spelling words by promising outlandish stunts like kissing a pig on the lips or shinnying up a flagpole to recite the "Pledge of Allegiance." The kids love the chocolate party they get as a reward, too, but they finally realize that Mr. Klutz has gone too far when he wants to bungee jump off the roof of the school dressed as Santa Claus. Neatly turning the tables on their weird principal, the astute second-graders offer to read a million minutes only if he won't jump. The thirteen chapters are short, the reading is easy, and there's a chuckle on nearly every page. Jim Paillot's goofy but endearing black-and-white illustrations add to the fun to be had during silent reading or while sharing this amusing tale with a friend. Look out for Book #3! 2004, Harper Trophy/HarperCollins, Ages 7 to 9.
—Barbara L. Talcroft