The Great Show-and-Tell Disaster

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When a young inventor named Ned realizes he doesn't have anything for show-and-tell, he whips up something unique from the odds and ends in his closet. The result is "Ned's Mix-Up Ray," a device that scrambles the letters in a word, changing the object into something else entirely. It's bad enough that he changes his AUNT into a TUNA and the PEAS and GRAPES at the local grocer's into APES with PAGERS. But when he uses the device on his classmates (BRIAN becomes a disembodied BRAIN and poor KRISTEN turns into a ...

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Overview

When a young inventor named Ned realizes he doesn't have anything for show-and-tell, he whips up something unique from the odds and ends in his closet. The result is "Ned's Mix-Up Ray," a device that scrambles the letters in a word, changing the object into something else entirely. It's bad enough that he changes his AUNT into a TUNA and the PEAS and GRAPES at the local grocer's into APES with PAGERS. But when he uses the device on his classmates (BRIAN becomes a disembodied BRAIN and poor KRISTEN turns into a STINKER), he pushes things too far. Following a BUS ride, (well, a SUB ride, actually) and a disastrous field trip to an art museum, Ned realizes that he hasn't been kind. So putting his inventive mind to work, he comes up with an ingenious solution to fix all the trouble he's caused.

From the off-kilter mind of Mike Reiss, author of the best-selling How Murray Saved Christmas and former writer for The Simpsons, comes this hilarious tale of a show-and-tell project gone waaaay out of control.

Mike Reiss' other TV writing credits include The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, It's Garry Shandling's Show, Alf, and The Critic, starring Jon Lovitz, which he co-created. His first book, How Murray Saved Christmas, received unanimous rave reviews.

Desperate to bring something exciting to show and tell at school, Ned invents a Mix-Up Ray and causes a commotion when Cathy becomes a yacht, the school bus becomes a sub, and his teacher, Mrs. Eton, becomes a monster.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Reiss (How Murray Saved Christmas) once again unleashes his knack for catchy, if occasionally forced, rhymes in another slapstick outing. Ned, when stumped at what to bring to school for show and tell resorts to a homemade Rube Goldberg contraption he dubs a "Word Mix-up Ray." His invention transforms his "aunt" into a "tuna," the grocer's "peas" into "apes" and his classmates, well "He made Brian a brain, with a big throbbing thinker,/ Changed Nat to an ant and made Kristen a stinker." A catastrophic field trip to the art museum finds Ned gleefully modifying the gallery ("making piecrust from pictures that hung on the walls," among other things), but eventually he finds a way to reverse the damage. Reiss's anagrams and corny light verse will appeal to a punchy sense of humor, but Cressy's colored pencil illustrations fare less well. Brisk, stylized cartoons reveal the artist's roots as an animator, but a grayish cast to the overall coloration dulls the spreads. It's an entertaining excursion nonetheless. Ages 5-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
The Mix-up Ray Ned concocts for show-and-tell causes havoc by mixing the letters of its object and then changing it. At home his AUNT becomes a TUNA fish;in school CATHY becomes a YACHT, NAT an ANT, and the teacher MRS. ETON a MONSTER. Through town, then at the museum, the disastrous or ridiculous transformations continue, until Ned turns NED'S MIX-UP RAY into an UNMIXED SPRAY and fixes everything. The rollicking verse is a bit outlandish, but predicting the mix-ups is great fun. Cressy's sculpturesque cartoon-y characters work perfectly to keep this child-sized drama moving. The illustrator fills the large pages with colorful comic details that go beyond the text, adding to the sport. 2001, Price Stern Sloan/Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, $13.99. Ages 5 to 10. Reviewer:Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-This oversized book tells in rhyme the tale of a young inventor who assembles a gadget that transforms items into anagrams: a shoe becomes a hose, a lamp turns into a palm, etc. Classmates suffer the consequences as well. Nat becomes an ant and Kristen a stinker. Even worse, during the school trip to an art gallery, Ned transforms the sculpture of "The Kiss" into skis and pictures turn to pie crust. The protagonist rights most of the wrongs and returns home to consider his next creation. Affable cartoon illustrations assist the comedy that only can be appreciated by those able to understand anagrams, but the book will certainly spur follow-up attempts at wordplay by older readers.-Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780843176803
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/2001
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.34 (w) x 12.36 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Mike Reiss

Mike Reiss is a former head writer for The Simpsons, a show for which he has won four Emmy awards. He is a graduate of Harvard University, where he served as president of The Harvard Lampoon, and currently lives in Los Angeles, California. His other books for children include How Murray Saved Christmas, Santa Claustrophobia, and The Boy Who Looked Like Lincoln, all illustrated by David Catrow.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 17, 2011

    Great fun this!

    I've given this book to several nieces and nephews since it came out ten years ago and they still tell me they treasure this book. It's got adventure and a thoughtful game of Anagram. The illustrations are bright and delightful. A wonderful illustrator and a smart writer brought together for a great book for kids of all ages.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2003

    Fantastic Book!

    Thoroughly enjoyable, entertaining, very clever, great fun for the whole family! We enjoyed the book as much as our children did.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2002

    A terrific and fun book for young readers and adults.

    The word play is fun and pulls the reader through various situations that are a hoot. The illustrations are great too. Colorful and animated.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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