"this archly funny sixth addition to the series...a satirical romp...relentlessly edgy and smart...a breath of fresh air." Kirkus Reviews
"The tongue-in-cheek humor, brisk pace, and snappy dialogue make for a lively and enjoyable read." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL School Library Journal
"witty, absurd farce and spot-on portrayl of the social pecking order of middle-graders." BOOKLIST Booklist, ALA
The sixth title in the Hamlet Chronicles series, A Couple of April Fools by Gregory Maguire, illus. by Elaine Clayton, continues where Three Rotten Eggs left off. In this installment, Thekla Mustard is unseated as Empress of the Tattletales and Miss Earth disappears; her students develop theories as to what might have happened, as they search the Vermont wilderness for her. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Librarians will be kept hopping when many students want to read this book at the same time. Maguire's zany humor and ability to create pictures with words are a couple of good reasons to expect heavy library traffic. The plot centers on April Fool's Day jokes concocted by the boys in Miss Earth's class, as well as jokes brewed up by the girls. Most of the boys in the class belong to a club known as the Copycats. The girls have their own club known as the Tattletales. Real life middle readers will easily relate to this. For added interest, Thud Tweed, a new member of the class, does not always follow the lines of demarcation between boys and girls. Also, Thekla Mustard, Empress of the Tattletales for years, is ousted from her position. In an attempt to stop the pitting of boys against girls, Miss Earth does the unthinkable when she requires science fair projects to be completed by boy and girl pairings of her own. Flameburpers, creatures that are part chicken and part lizard, and an ape-like monster twist in and out of the hilarious plot. Names of characters are worth a good laugh. Maguire exhibits a gift for understanding the worries and actions of this age group. Even with the hilarity, he is able to address some of the more serious adolescent concerns. This is the sixth book in Maguire's "Hamlet Chronicles" series. A school library will do well to bring in the whole set. 2004, Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin, Ages 8 to 12.
Nancy Garhan Attebury
The children in Miss Earth's class are not having a good spring. What with mutant chickens, an escalating rivalry between the Tattletales and the Copycats (their girls' and boys' clubs), a traitor, and a couple of April Fools pranks gone wrong, they hardly notice the fine spring air or the first forsythia blooms. Their problems reach a crisis point when their beloved teacher disappears. Though Thekla Mustard, former Empress of the Tattletales, suspects a romance gone wrong between Miss Earth and her fiance, Mayor Grass, her classmates are not so sure. However, they all agree, they must use their excellent education to locate their teacher. In this, book six of the chronicles of Hamlet, Vermont, Maguire uses humor and a fastpaced plot to create a delightfully entertaining story. Despite the quirky names and bizarre events, Maguire's tale captures the essence of pre-adolescent experience: the difficulties of peer relationships and the growing understanding that parents are flawed human beings. 2004, Clarion Books, 182 pp., Ages young adult.
Gr 3-6-In this sixth installment in the series, the rivalry between the girls' club, the Tattletales, and that of the boys, the Copycats, continues, but their leaders, Thekla Mustard and Sammy Grubb, are not quite as enthusiastic as they were earlier in the year. Before long, Thekla finds herself deposed by an upstart member. When new student and outsider Thud Tweed decides it would be fun to make trouble for Miss Earth, he helps the girls play an April Fool's Day trick on the boys during class, and the teacher puts her foot down. She bans the clubs from school and assigns everyone into girl-boy pairs for the upcoming science fair. Meanwhile, the one remaining Flameburper (a mutant chicken-lizard hatched in the previous book) is growing at a rapid rate and is clearly distressed about something. Could it be the mysterious creature rumored to be lurking around town? Then, Miss Earth disappears, and all rivalries are set aside as the Tattletales and Copycats combine forces to find her. Although the book can stand alone, readers already familiar with the characters and their history will get the most out of it. The tongue-in-cheek humor, brisk pace, and snappy dialogue make for a lively and enjoyable read.-Terrie Dorio, Santa Monica Public Library, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
What has got to be the weirdest year in the history of Hamlet, Vermont, continues in this archly funny sixth addition to the series. It is the lead-up to April Fool's Day, and all is not well. Thekla Mustard has been deposed as Empress of the Tattletales, and Thud Tweed is on the outs with the Copycats. Furthermore, Beatrice the Flameburper, the mutant chicken-lizard hybrid of Three Rotten Eggs (2002), is going through an alarming transformation into . . . well, it's hard to say, with a Freak of Nature. When an April Fool's prank leads to the disappearance of the beloved Miss Earth, the kids reluctantly set aside their differences in the face of this calamity. Maguire serves up a stew of characters who frequently teeter over the edge into caricatures, but the tongue-in-cheek text never panders to a perceived lowest-common-denominator, instead fiercely pulling its audience through a satirical romp most writers for middle-graders wouldn't dream of attempting. Is the formula getting a little old? Perhaps, but it's a relentlessly edgy and smart one, and as such, a breath of fresh air. (Fiction. 8-12)