Story Time by Edward Bloor, NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Story Time

Story Time

4.1 33
by Edward Bloor

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George and Kate are promised the finest education when they transfer to the Whittaker Magnet School. It boasts the highest test scores in the nation. But at what price? Their school's curriculum is focused on beating standardized tests; classes are held in dreary, windowless rooms; and students are force-fed noxious protein shakes to improve their test performance.


George and Kate are promised the finest education when they transfer to the Whittaker Magnet School. It boasts the highest test scores in the nation. But at what price? Their school's curriculum is focused on beating standardized tests; classes are held in dreary, windowless rooms; and students are force-fed noxious protein shakes to improve their test performance. Worst of all, there seems to be a demon loose in the building--one whose murderous work has only just begun.

A bitterly funny satire about the state of modern education from the author of Tangerine and Crusader.

Includes a reader's guide and an author's note.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
This is satire of a high order. Bloor knows how to load on outrageous twists with a trowel while retaining just enough verisimilitude to maintain credibility and interest. Like Lemony Snicket, he's adept at sketching adult villains with an amusing soupcon of sadism … As for Bloor (who, like Clements, earned his school stripes in the trenches, teaching), he's certifiably brilliant, too. Despite occasional violent excesses, he has spun an ingenious, intricate tale that's as astute as it is entertaining. — Sandy MacDonald
Publishers Weekly
"In the sprawling, satirical tradition of his Tangerine and Crusader," PW wrote, "Bloor delivers a no-holds-barred, deeply subversive tale about modern education." Ages 12-up. (Aug.)n Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Take two bright middle school students, add a school that promises high test scores, blend in a mystery, top with a satirical look at education, and the result is the recipe for the newest offering by Bloor, author of Tangerine (Harcourt, 1997/VOYA August 1997). George and his niece, Kate, who is actually two years older than George, are invited to attend the prestigious Whittaker Magnet School. The school, which meets in the basement of the town's public library, prides itself on the achievements of its students who score higher on tests than any students in the country. Visits from the president and first lady to the Whittaker School are being planned as Kate and George become students. Kate, dismayed to discover that seating in each class is arranged by students' test scores, resigns herself to sitting in the last seat in the last row. Simply being made to feel inferior, however, is not the only bad thing happening at Whittaker. Kate and George soon learn that the tradition of "Story Time" carries with it some awful events from the past. The two must combine forces to unearth the deadly secret of Story Time. Bloor successfully combines humor, mystery, and fantasy in this satire about the pitfalls of education. The satirical aspect of the novel might appeal more to teachers than to students. Middle school students will appreciate more the librarian who speaks only in nursery rhymes, the spirits who wreak havoc with what should be a peaceful story time, and the efforts of two powerless students who manage to solve the mystery at the core of the story. VOYA Codes: 4Q 3P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2004, Harcourt, 432p., Ages 11 to 15.
—Teri S. Lesesne
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, March 2004: When George and Kate are admitted to the elite Whittaker Magnet School as part of the county's "Leave No High-Scoring Child Behind Program," they have high expectations, as the school has the highest test scores in the country. Their hopes are quickly dashed, though, when they realize that the students do nothing but practice test-taking in windowless rooms and that the administrators and their offspring are pompous, vain and uncaring. Worse still, there seems to be an evil spirit loose in the building, with mayhem and murder in mind. It's up to George and Kate to trap the spirit and enact some serious school reform in this combined ghost story/broad satire of modern educational practices. Bloor, author of Tangerine and Crusader, weaves in many other plotlines as well, such as Kate's search for her lost father and her mother's search for self-confidence, and offers some darkly humorous portraits of educational administrators and local bigwigs. A funny, offbeat, often Gothic tale. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2004, Harcourt, 431p., Ages 12 to 15.
—Paula Rohrlick
Children's Literature
Former high school teacher Edward Bloor obviously holds an opinion or two about the emphasis on testing in modern education. In this novel, sixth-grader George, and his niece, Kate, who is two years older than him, are enrolled in the Whittaker Magnet School. While George is excited about the opportunity to attend the prestigious school, which boasts some of the highest test scores in the nation, Kate feels out of place and misses her friends and activities from her old school. And Kate is less than thrilled about the school's "Test-Based Curriculum." The only reason Kate was invited to Whittaker is because she shares an address with George. Worst of all, the library's books seem to be inhabited by demons. Open the wrong book and the demon could possess your body, making you behave in strange and sometimes dangerous ways. People have even turned up dead. With the First Lady of the United States scheduled to take a tour of the school, something wild and wicked is sure to occur. The story, even with its wild twists and turns, takes a back seat to Bloor's scathing satire on the state of education in the United States. The host of characters representing the school's establishment is in turns vain, pompous, and wrong-headed. 2004, Harcourt, Ages 12 up.
—Christopher Moning
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-A book filled with social satire, black comedy, fantasy/humor, and extreme situations. Eighth-grader Katie and her brilliant Uncle George, a sixth grader, find themselves mysteriously redistricted and assigned to Whittaker Magnet School, which focuses entirely on excellence in standardized testing. The regimented kids are taught by regimented teachers in the basement of a haunted old library building and the school is run by a strange family obsessed with its own achievements, whether they are earned or not. All sorts of things are amiss at Whittaker, where elitism reigns; where dramatic deaths are hidden nearly as carefully as the dark secrets involving the building, the town, and the people who live there; and where appearances are paramount. Back at home, Kate lives with her agoraphobic mom, who has mysterious ties to the library, while George lives next door. Kate wants only to return to Lincoln Middle, where she could play Peter Pan and be with friends, while George tries to make the best of what is a monstrously warped situation. The Whittaker family goes to extremes to impress the visiting First Lady, creating an atmosphere ripe for catastrophe-as well as for redemption. This expansive and engrossing tale has elements of Roald Dahl, J. K. Rowling, and J. M. Barrie (the Peter Pan subtheme is not coincidental), but with a decidedly American flair. The many seemingly unconnected threads do eventually come together, but it is hardly worth the effort as this overly ambitious author has spread himself way too thin.-Mary R. Hofmann, Rivera Middle School, Merced, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
George and Kate Melvil have won acceptance to Whittaker Magnet School, where they will be exposed to the finest teaching methods in the US and subjected to a test-based, "Leave No High-Scoring Child Behind" program. Classes take place in windowless rooms in the basement, where Kate and her fellow students, the "Mushroom Children," drink protein shakes and use treadmills to stay in shape for the standardized tests taken every day in every class. Students memorize the prefectures of Japan and GRE vocabulary words, and children's books are read at Story Time for the phonics lessons they inspire. Kate hates the school and wants nothing more than to be at her old school, singing and acting in the upcoming production of Peter Pan. Adults will relish this wild satire on modern education; young readers will enjoy the horror-story trappings of ghosts, bizarre occurrences, demonic possession, and the big, dark school that looks like Dracula's castle. A creation with wide appeal. (Fiction. 12+)
From the Publisher

"Brilliant . . . An ingenious, intricate tale."--The New York Times Book Review

"Bloor successfully combines humor, mystery, and fantasy in this satire about the pitfalls of education."--VOYA

"A no-holds-barred, deeply subversive tale about modern education . . . Great, smart fun."--Publishers Weekly

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Sales rank:
730L (what's this?)
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313 KB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

A Carefree Evening

Kate was flying. She was thinking beautiful thoughts, and she was flying.

She sailed across the backyard in a graceful arc, ten feet above the dirt, rising over the fence at her apogee near the kitchen window and dipping below it at her perigee near the back gate.

Kate's uncle George, a slight, bespectacled boy, ran along the ground below her like a disembodied shadow. He had a length of rope tied around his waist. It ran up to a system of pulleys that were screwed deeply into the oak branch, threading through them and connecting, finally, to Kate. He was Kate's ballast, scurrying back and forth beneath the big oak branch, grunting and tugging in contrast to her effortless aerobatics.

He called up to her, "How does the bodice feel?"

Kate thought for a moment about the Velcro-and-wire brace wrapped around her body. "It's killing my armpits on the turns," she shouted, "but it's worth it! I'm flying, Uncle George. I'm sprinkled with fairy dust and I'm flying!" Spontaneously she broke into the first big number from Peter Pan, singing lustily, "I'm flying! Look at me way up high, suddenly here am I. I'm flying!"

As she sang, Kate dipped one arm and one leg left, executing a smooth glide across the length of the yard and then back again. Her auburn hair wafted on and off her forehead, and her green eyes shone in the sunset.

On the ground, George hustled to keep up with her. He was two years younger than his niece, Kate. He was twenty-two years younger than Kate's mother, his sister, June.

Theirs was an unusual, although not unheard of, family arrangement. George and his parents, Kate's grandparents, lived in one-half of a gray-shingled duplex, with this fenced-in yard, while Kate and June lived in the other half. This is how things had always been, for as long as George had been alive.

George was red and sweating when he called up, "Let's try a landing."

"No," Kate shouted back. "Please, Uncle George. Let me sing 'Never Never Land,' and then I'll come down."

George paused for a moment to check his invention. The pulleys were still securely attached to the tree. The rope was gliding smoothly through them. The bodice was a good fit, except for Kate's armpits. With a satisfied nod and a sigh, he took off running once again as the warm early-September evening faded slowly into dusk.

Kate scooted her arms and legs outward, ballerina-like, and sang, "I know a place where dreams are born and time is never planned. It's not on any chart; you must find it with your heart, Never Never Land."

With each move, Kate gained more confidence dancing on the air, coordinating her arms and legs in sweeping jetés, grand gestures for the audience in the back row of the Lincoln Middle School auditorium. That was where, in two months' time, she hoped to be starring in the fall production of Peter Pan. But for now her performance was for George alone.

Kate and George's duplex sat in a row of such double homes. Most were occupied by two unrelated families, and their facades clearly demonstrated this. Home owners up and down the street painted their front porches in colors that seemed deliberately at odds with their next-door neighbors'. But that was not the case at Kate and George's house. Their front and back porches extended from one side of the duplex to the other in uninterrupted gray.

The back porch sagged slightly as a plump, muscular woman stepped onto it. She wore bright red boots, a yellow cowgirl dress with red stitching, and a white cowgirl hat decorated with a multitude of feathers, mirrors, and sequins.

She was joined by a thin, craggy-faced man. He was dressed all in black, from his boots to his hat. His black shirt, however, had yellow stitching in a pattern similar to the woman's red stitching.

The two stood together, tapping the heels of their boots lightly and surveying the scene in their backyard, not the slightest bit surprised by what they saw. Their granddaughter, Kate, was flying through the air and singing, and their son, George, was huffing and puffing beneath her, keeping her up in the air with some crazy contraption that he had probably just invented.

The woman smiled wide, held up a letter, and let out an earsplitting whoop. The man joined in, whooping along with her, startling George and snapping Kate out of her happy reverie.

George stumbled and fell, catapulting Kate into a wild arc over the garbage cans toward the trunk of the tree. She quickly pulled her legs in and managed to bounce off the tree, unharmed, while George struggled to his feet.

"Georgie!" the woman screamed. "Where's my little genius boy?"

The man beckoned. "Come on, Georgie. Come on over here and look at this letter."

Kate snarled at them. "Ma! Pa! George is attached to me right now."

Ma laughed. "Then get yourself unattached, Georgie, and get over here."

George had by now strained his small body to the limit. "Kate," he panted, "I'll let you down."

"No! I don't want to come down. I want to keep flying."

George looked at his parents and back to Kate in despair. "You heard them. I have to go."

"Fine. Then go. Just let me swing back and forth."

"You can't. You need a ballast."

Kate completed two slow passes over George's head, then told him, "Tie me to the railing."

George carefully undid the rope around his waist and struggled to tie it to the porch railing. Kate was now confined to a small arc, but she stubbornly continued to practice her moves.

Ma waved the letter high. "Georgie! This letter says that you are a genius and that you are invited to go to the genius school, right here in town."

Pa echoed, "Right here in town, son, down at the Whittaker Building. They got a school for geniuses just like you. Did you know that?"

"It's called the Whittaker Magnet School, Pa. We all had to take a test for it."

Ma started to whoop again. "You sure did! And you passed it!"

Pa said, "You're on your way now, son."

George shook his head. "It's sixth grade, Pa. I'm only going into sixth grade."

"Not for long, though. Eh, Georgie boy?"

"Well, I'd say for about a year."

"Then you'll be going to a genius college."

"No, then I'll be going to seventh grade."

George's parents doubled over in laughter at that remark, so he turned to check on Kate. Her momentum had wound down almost completely. She drifted slowly in place above the yard. George shook out his arm muscles, took a firm grip, and began to unknot the rope.

The door to the other side of the house opened, and a thin, bony woman with unnaturally bright blond hair walked out onto the porch. Next to her overdressed parents, she looked particularly drab in a shapeless blue housedress.

"Lookit here, June," her mother said, pointing at the letter in the fading light.

June muttered, "I didn't bring my glasses. What does it say?"

"It says your brother, George, passed some big test and he's going to that genius school in town."

June looked at George and told him, "Congratulations."

That set George's parents off again. They danced back into the house, making a syncopated sound with their boots.

June looked out at her daughter, Kate, who had by now come to a complete halt. June slowly reached into the housedress and pulled out an identical envelope. "Kate," she said quietly, "you got a letter, too."

Kate's jaw clenched, and her eyes focused in on the envelope.

George's hands froze in their effort to untie the rope. He and June stared up at Kate hanging limply in the fading light, like a fairy who had run out of flying dust.

Copyright © 2004 by Edward Bloor

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced
or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and
retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work
should be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department,
Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

Meet the Author

EDWARD BLOOR is the author many acclaimed novels, including Tangerine, Crusader, and Story Time. A former high school teacher, he lives near Orlando, Florida. Visit him online at

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Story Time 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
BJR-from-SOA More than 1 year ago
This book is AMAZING! At first, I only checked it out because I had heard someone talking up about it, but I never really gave it a chance at first. But, i decided to try and read the first few chapters, and see if it sparked any intrest in me. It was a little slow at first, but once it got going, it got going! I was really absorbed. This book was humorous and horrifying at the same time. At one moment, I was laughing my butt off, but the next, I was grieving for a lost character. The characters really popped, and I felt something for them as each event happened, as if I was really in the book! I also felt real hatred for the antagonists in the story, as if they were real people, that were commiting these terrible acts on me! I had to stop myself every once in a while to tell myself that it was real. It was truly 'Story Time'!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this cunning funny depressing and scary book( great combo) was 424 pages of nothing but shock. IT COMPLETELY skewered the schools craze for standardized testing and One of THE best books I have ever read
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book made me laugh, cry, scream with terror, and celebrate with Kate and George. Some of the twists were really obvious, like the identity of Kate's dad and the reason Kate's mom is agoraphobic. I really liked the characters, even though some of them were really wierd. I liked Pogo, and I wish her character was more developed. All in all, this is a really good novel that has something for everyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this book! I hadn't read any of Bloor's books until this one and I think he is a terrific author. His book, Story Time, really captivated me, and I never lost interest in it at all. Never was there a dull moment, and I was quite sad when I neared the end. I finished it in two days. As I said, a must-read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Story Time is the latest fine book from the gifted author of Tangerine and Crusader. This story has everything to delight the young reader. A different kind of school setting is richly endowed with interesting, amazing and sometimes scary characters. The subject matter alone is fantastic and gives one food for thought. The way it is presented here is nothing short of masterful. I can only imagine how the 12+ age group will simply gobble up this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Welcome to Story Time! This is a place to collectively record any fanfictions or stories you might have made up. It can be about cat or dogs or wolves or humans; anything you want! Have any questions or comments? Ask here! Otherwise, continue on to the next results! ----[[} Cat
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was okay. The author really had the right idea when he started it out, but then towards the end of it he seemed to have forgotten what he had started. One good thing about this book is that it never gets boring at all! It is really a non-stop drama fest and is a good book as long as you can get past the WEIRD ending.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is definitely one of my favorite books. You think one thing is going to happen and then something totally different happens. It's suspenseful and just too great to describe. You would never be able to guess the ending to this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I haven't finished the book yet, but so far it is very entertaining and convinces me to read on. Theres mystery and humor, but sometimes it gets to confusing so I would not recommend this book to everyone. You have to kind of think about what happened before you read on. Otherwise, Story Time is a fantastic book! I'm in a Book Discution Group and my librarian recommended this book too so it has to be good!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow this story blew me away. And how the family was a bit messed up made it more real. I can't believe Whit he should be a little acting better than that but obviously he's lower than the sewer rat I thought he was. I've heard Tangerine is good too by Edward Bloor but haven't had a chance to pick it up yet. Anyway, Story Time was well-thought out, a bit creepy at times, but brilliant. It really is a go-getter for readers. Read it today!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was so unexpected in many ways. I had it sitting on my shelf for so long because I thought that based on the name it was just some dumb kids book. I guess that's where dont judge the book by its cover phrase comes from lol. I loved the characters and there were so much twists and turns. The author has quite the imagination!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is such a cool book! My friend showed me it and I found a beautiful love for it! After he showed me it, I ordered it right away and the book is great so far:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My product came in excellent condition. Thank you (:
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read mine at norman douglas first result. It should work but sometimes it doesnt. Its called Goldenflights sadness
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bluepaw was out on border patrol. alone. She really didnt mind much because she got peace and quiet. Her clan was almost never quiet. Her clan was (making one up cuz i not in a clan) CrystalClan. She walked around. Bluepaw was a silvery blue she cat with crystal blue eyes. For an apprentice, she was beautiful. She also liked Blackpaw. He was a handsome black tom with green eyes. He was really friendly. Lightning struck the air causing Bluepaw to jump. She hated thunderstorms. Then Bluepaw leapt up to a tree because she felt a shift in the air. A weird unfamiliar smell. when Bluepaw got to the top she saw alot of smoke and fire heading right towards them. Bluepaw gasped and leapt down running back to CrystalClan to warn everyone else. "FIRE FIRE THERES A FIRE!!!" she yowled. That woke everyone up. They scurried over the queens and some warriors carrying the kits. "Everyone! We must move on East!" Shimmerstar yowled. "But thats in LoveClan territory!" Cloudpelt protested. He was rude and Bluepaw didnt like him one bit. "Itz either that or burn to death!" His mate Leafeyes snapped. Bluepaw didnt mind Leafeyes. She was kind. Duskfur, Blackpaws mentor nudged everyone forward. They all ran but Bluepaw heard little yowling. Someone had forgotten a kit! She ran back unthinkingly. "Bluepaw! Get back here!" Her mentor Darkpelt meowed but she was too far away. Smoke was closing in. She coughed and found Tinykit the youngest kit in CrystalClan. She mewed hopelessly as Bluepaw picked her up by the scruff of her neck and bounded off. A tree fell in front of them. Bluepaw glanced around helplessly. She saw Blackpaw on the otherside. "Bluepaw come on!" He yowled in alarm. Bluepaw tossed Tinykit to the otherside and saw Blackpaw catche her and hand her to his mentor. "Take the kit! Ill get Bluepaw!" He yowled. Another tree fell forward. Bluepaw was forced back. They were really seperated. "Blackpaw!" She remembered yelling before the world went dark. She had passed out.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This story was an awesome story with a surprising twist. It takes eveyday school life and turns it into monsterous test-taking classes. I really thought this book reflected on today's children, even the fact that in an ordinary school, smart people are the geeks.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was definetly a good book. After reading this, I've found a new love for this brand of gothic-ish humor. x3 Very good read