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The Nobodies

The Nobodies

4.7 9
by N. E. Bode, Peter Ferguson (Illustrator)

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As you may know, my insanely jealous creative writing teacher is after me. And while I narrowly avoid attempts on my life, I'm writing these new adventures of Fern and Howard. They are on their way to Camp Happy Sunshine Good Times, a camp for young Anybodies. But camp doesn't turn out to be what they expected. First there are the Anybodies who rule as counselors:


As you may know, my insanely jealous creative writing teacher is after me. And while I narrowly avoid attempts on my life, I'm writing these new adventures of Fern and Howard. They are on their way to Camp Happy Sunshine Good Times, a camp for young Anybodies. But camp doesn't turn out to be what they expected. First there are the Anybodies who rule as counselors: some have gills, some have beaks! There's a vicious mole attacking campers!

And why is it that every time Fern shakes a book, a bottle plops out with an urgent message from the Nobodies? Who are the Nobodies, and what do they want from Fern?

This book promises weird surprises! Multiple jujitsu-like plot twists! A girl whose braids turn into snakes! So go on, read the book already! You might just learn the secret art of being an Anybody…

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The Nobodies by N.E. Bode (adult novelist Julianna Baggott writing under a pseudonym), illus. by Peter Ferguson, follows up The Anybodies as young Fern heads off to Camp Happy Sunshine Good Times, "a camp for young Anybodies." Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Direct author remarks to the reader have appeared in many children's books recently. This sequel to The Anybodies begins with a Prologue addressed to the reader about the author's concern for himself. The author insinuates himself in this fantasy adventure about a young girl with supernatural powers on a quest to rescue others. Yet, the author's personal comments are more frequent in the first half of the book and appear to fade in the last half, as he busies himself with sorting out the plot. It isn't until the reader is 80 percent into the book that we meet up with those who need rescuing, the Nobodies of the book title. Before then, we meet Fern, the main character, who as an Anybody can shake characters out of books and change herself into another shape. Fern is eager to attend summer camp which is anything but what its name implies--Camp Happy Sunshine Good Times. Preposterous characters and events are common throughout the story. Don't be confused by the evil Anybody who is three characters in one: a flower-nose talking mole, a blind bus driver and a small boy who changes to the man he is supposed to be at the end of the book. The love and forgiveness of his sister Phoebe make the change possible. It is this sister, not Fern, who is the star at the tearful end of the story. Readers won't be teary-eyed. All the characters cry at the story's goofy ending in a virtual flood begun from the outpouring of Phoebe's heart. The book is a page-turner and presents end-of-chapter dilemmas, but as a mystery, it may only appeal to those who prefer an element of the bizarre with their mystery. 2005, HarperCollins, and Ages 9 to 12.
—Jacki Vawter, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-This sequel to The Anybodies (HarperCollins, 2004) is written in the same vein, with strange talking animals and weird goings-on. The prologue features the "author," N. E. Bode, addressing readers in a distinctly Lemony Snicket-esque tone, even to the extent of repeatedly mentioning attempts on his life due to his knowledge of the events in the two books. Fern briefly summarizes events from the first book, but those who have not read it will still be somewhat confused. Fern is an Anybody, who can transform objects into reality. Her grandmother lives in a house made of books and populated by characters that have fallen out of the pages of these volumes. Howard and Fern, both 11 and uneasily starting a friendship, are to spend the summer at an Anybodies camp called Camp Happy Sunshine Good Times. Of course, a camp with that moniker is bound to be anything but fun. Its administrators seem quite sinister, and include an extremely unpleasant and evil mole. The counselors are obnoxious to the kids during the day but at night are trapped in animal form and try to protect the children from frightening and mysterious events. Will the evil Mole successfully steal Fern's precious book, The Art of Being Anybody, thereby giving him access to all the secrets therein? And what is the significance of the fizzy drinks that the counselors incessantly drink? The book ends somewhat abruptly, with all questions answered. An enjoyable choice for fans of the first one.-B. Allison Gray, John Jermain Library, Sag Harbor, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
"Oh, civility! I miss it sometimes, but not very often." A campy tale in more ways than one, this pits young Fern, introduced in The Anybodies (2004) as a vulnerable but plucky lass with the inherited ability literally to shake characters or items out of books, against a mole/man shapechanger with both severe personal issues and a cellarful of enslaved fictional orphans with names like Oliver, Heidi and Huck. Here Fern and her nerdy friend/rival/ersatz sibling Howard arrive at Camp Happy Sunshine Good Times to discover that it has fallen on hard times since the arrival of one BORT. "Henceforthtowith," while figuring out what's going on, foiling efforts to steal her magical tome The Art of Being Anybody, and rescuing the aforesaid Nobodies, she not only taps deep wells of spirit and courage, but discovers a few more unusual abilities. Inserting parenthetical descriptions of a jealous Creative Writing teacher's murder attempts, the pseudonymous "Bode" dishes up a confection that may disorient readers unfamiliar with the previous outing, but is nonetheless rich in mystery, action and self discovery-along with plenty of literary references for well-read audiences to pick up, and occasional urbane illustrations from Ferguson. (Fantasy. 10-12)
“An off the wall read-aloud. An excellent example of voice in writing.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)
710L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 13 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Nobodies

Chapter One

Diet Lime Fizzy Drinks

Fern was looking out her bedroom window in her grandmother's house for a runaway rhinoceros. Ridiculous, you might be muttering to yourself. Well, it might be ridiculous, but it's true. (And didn't your mother tell you not to mutter to yourself! My mother told me that if I muttered to myself all the time, I might end up spending my days shuffling through the bus depot wearing my pajamas. And so I've made a little life out of muttering on paper—just like so.)

Fern had been sent to her bedroom by Dorathea and the Bone, who were steamed about the rhinoceros that Howard and Fern had accidentally shaken from a book containing an entire stampede. They'd been shaking the book together, but once Fern heard the stampede pounding in the book, she had dropped it. She'd told Howard to shut it, quick, but he hadn't. Howard! Fern could see him now in her mind's eye, gripping onto the roaring, thundering book, his whole body rattling while the rhino muscled its way out, bursting forth with its horn and thick armored sides! Why hadn't he listened to her? Howard, with his love of spray starch and ironing boards and wristwatches, was the most boring kid she knew. Well, Fern thought, he sure picked a fine time to be drawn to excitement!

Howard had been sent to his bedroom too, which was wedged up in the attic. Fern hoped that he was feeling miserable up there and very hot.

Really, all Fern wanted now was to go to camp—which would happen tomorrow. Camp Happy Sunshine Good Times was a camp for young Anybodies. It wasn't called Camp Anybody, because Anybodies don't want to be known. So itdisguised itself in the sappy brochures as an inspirational camp built on the sentimental notions of hand-holding, sing-alongs and crafts where campers color in pictures of kids in baseball caps under the caption "I am so special!" It weeded out the non-Anybodies by a questionnaire and, if in person, by a wink. (You see, if an Anybody winks at another Anybody, they have to wink back. It's unavoidable.) At camp Fern was sure she'd find kids more like her—not like Howard, a clumsy Anybody hugging his math books, Howard, who was always dull except when he should be dull!

The Drudgers had dropped Howard off the week before camp, an entire week ahead of schedule. Why? Fern had wondered. The Drudgers said it was so that Fern and Howard could spend time together before camp. But Fern now thought that the Drudgers were a little afraid of Howard. (He'd hypnotized them into monkeys for the first half of the summer, all to impress his new friend, Milton Beige, and when Fern saw the Drudgers as they dropped Howard off, she noticed that they still had some leftover monkey tendencies—eyeing the treetops and occasionally flaring their nostrils.) Fern didn't blame the Drudgers for dumping Howard earlier than planned. She wished she could dump him right back.

Fern had been trying to ignore Howard as best as she could, but it wasn't easy. Ever since Howard first showed up at Fern's grandmother's house, he walked around like a sad dog, kicked out of the house for chewing the carpet. He missed the Drudgers and especially Milton Beige, whom he called on the phone daily to talk about math equations and his dread of the upcoming camp. (Fern sometimes eavesdropped on these conversations. She could tell that even Milton Beige—who was supposed to be extremely dull—was actually more interested in talking about Fern's grandmother's house and Anybody camp and Anybody business in general than Howard was.) When not on the phone with Milton, Howard was complaining. He didn't like Fern's grandmother's house—its strange landscape dotted with chimneys, the big house roofed with books. He complained about the books, books, books . . . everywhere!

"The house is crammed nearly solid!" Howard whined. "Who can breathe with all this dust?"

It was true. Dusty books lined every wall and were fitted into every small space—cupboards, drawers, kneeholes of desks. They were sewn into the stuffing of the sofa cushions, even crammed into the paintings hung on the wall—a little trick that Fern's mother had invented when she was a girl about Fern's age. To get around in the house, everyone was forced to careen along narrow, book-lined paths. Fern loved this! Each book contained worlds and adventures. Sometimes she could feel the energy of the books radiating out from them.

Howard, however, was simply annoyed.

Howard didn't like the creatures who lived on the premises either. He shooed the hobbits in the yard. He scolded the Borrowers for stealing his toothbrush and buttons. And he shushed the crows when they started fighting—loudly and with great conviction—about the best places to find bloated worms. Fern went around apologizing to the creatures for Howard's grumpiness.

And he certainly didn't enjoy living with the Miser, who used to be quite evil but now wore a soft, meek expression. Here Fern couldn't really blame Howard. He'd grown up in fear of the Miser, and no matter how many times Fern told Howard that the Miser had changed, Howard couldn't quite believe it. Fern had to forgive this, because of Howard's past associations with the Miser.

But she couldn't forgive the fact that Howard thought Fern's grandmother, Dorathea, was a nut, even though this was a bit true. Fern made him help her read to Dorathea at night. Dorathea liked to read as many books as possible, all at the same time, a sentence from one book, then the next, then the next. With Howard and Fern, she could juggle six stories at once.

"Impossible!" Howard would say later on. "She can't possibly keep them all straight! She's just showing off! What's wrong with reading one book at a time? Like normal people!"

The Nobodies. Copyright © by N. Bode. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

The elusive and charming N. E. Bode writes from a secret locale beneath a giant, unmarked tree in the middle of Central Park. Some great works born from this hidden perch include The Anybodies, The Nobodies, and The Somebodies. N. E. Bode would also like to mention the books of Julianna Baggott, trusted friend, who writes novels and poetry for grown-ups and lives in the Florida panhandle.

Peter Ferguson, who did the illustrations for this book, is a disagreeable young man who lurks in a dusty corner of the hamlet Montreal, not far from the Arctic Circle. His favorite phrase is "You can't make me."

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Nobodies 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a sequel to the first book the anybodies so if you want to know what happend in the beginning you should read that first.But this story starts out with a girl named Fern and her almost brother named Howard getiing ready to go to a summer camp for anybodies(anybodies are people who by nature or training can trasform objects into to reailty like ashaking things out of books or reaching into paintings and who can traform them selves into to anything like a man into to a dog.They also have devleoped the art of hypnoises.)Fern really wants to the camp but as for Howard he'd rather curl up with a math book in bed.After they get on the bus and go to camp things arent what the thought the camp is run down and broken and it turns out that this year nobody is going to learn anything about being an anybody.But not only that after the events in the first book.Fern is asked for help by the nobodies who are traped by an evil mole called _BORT who wants to get rid of Fern and get a book that hold a crown a secpter that will allow him to become king of the anybodies.So now its all up to Fern to help the nobodies and solve the mystery of the diet lime fizzy drinks and the hermit but can a 11 year old girl do all of this and what is with the conulers and being stuck in mid tranformation.To find out read this amazing book
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is great book for all ages. N.E. Bode is a great author. I loved this book right when I started it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was so awesome it DOESNT need a sequeal but omg omg here it is!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Anybodies was for a long time my favorite book in the world, and it didn't even need a sequel, but here one is and I can't wait to read it! (And if you're wondering, the authors real name is Julianna Baggot.)