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Eat Your Poison, Dear (Sebastian Barth Series)

Eat Your Poison, Dear (Sebastian Barth Series)

4.0 3
by James Howe

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Cafeteria food may be hazardous to your health.
Poor Milo Groot — he's sprawled on the cafeteria floor, his cracked glasses inches away from his white face. Could it be the apple chili dogs?
Could it be poison?
Kids at the middle school are dropping like flies, and Sebastian Barth suspects there's something fishier than tuna


Cafeteria food may be hazardous to your health.
Poor Milo Groot — he's sprawled on the cafeteria floor, his cracked glasses inches away from his white face. Could it be the apple chili dogs?
Could it be poison?
Kids at the middle school are dropping like flies, and Sebastian Barth suspects there's something fishier than tuna dreamboats behind the epidemic. The trouble is, too many cooks have had the chance to spoil the stew.
Sebastian finds out.
At least he thinks he does, but he soon discovers that whipping up a dramatic disclosure without all the ingredients is a recipe for disaster.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As original and well constructed as Howe's Stage Fright and What Eric Knew, this is the third in the series that stars the smart teenager Sebastian Barth. In the cafeteria at Pembroke Middle School, Sebastian and his friends are aghast when the ``inspired'' cook, Miss Swille, celebrates apple month with apple lasagna, apple chili dogs and other offenses. Nobody is surprised when Milo Groot is sickened after lunch. Even when he seems to have been poisoned, the students react mildly: Milo is universally disliked and his classmates joke that anyone could have slipped a toxin into his food. At first, only Milo suffers. Later, however, 77 school children are made seriously ill and hospitalized, a fact that the principal tries to cover up as a flu epidemic. Sebastian vows to find out the truth and publish it. Readers will be intent on unraveling the mystery and be dazzled by the triple shock in the windup. (8-12)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6 This mystery centers around the sudden illness experienced by students in Pembroke Middle School's cafeteria. Milo, class nerd, is the first to be stricken. Other students soon succumb, and the official explanation for the epidemic is ``flu.'' Suspicions surface: could it be poisoning? Veteran cafeteria manager Miss Swille comes under question, as does Harley, school ``toughie'' and leader of the small but visible Devil Riders. Young sleuth Sebastian and his friend David set out to solve the mystery. Despite a deliciously sinister cover (and title), this mystery is less than gripping. Several extraneous plot elements interfere with the momentum of Sebastian's investigation, and the young peoples' conversations strike a false tone that mars the story. Yet it should appeal to children who enjoy school stories, and is an adequate addition to junior fiction collections.Cynthia Percak Infantino, Lake Forest Library, Ill.

Product Details

Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Sebastian Barth Mysteries Series
Edition description:
Aladdin Paperbacks Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.64(w) x 5.12(h) x 0.44(d)
630L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

If the living room was a museum, Milo's bedroom was a laboratory. Even before entering, Sebastian and David had an idea of what lay beyond the door adorned with the simple hand-lettered sign, "Resident Genius." The smell of mice permeated the entire upstairs. Where there weren't cages filled with the chattering, nibbling, wheel-running creatures, there were computer printouts and microscopes, petri dishes and globes (geographical, topographical and astrological), open books, closed books and notebooks. Nowhere on the walls were there posters of rock stars or movie stars; the only stars to be found in Milo's room belonged in constellations.

"Fun place," David whispered. "Remind me to see if it's booked for Christmas vacation."

Milo collapsed on his bed. "Homework can wait," he said. "You have my curiosity, Barth. What is this other matter you wish to discuss? My editorial, perhaps, and its ramifications?"

"Maybe," said Sebastian. "I don't know whether your editorial has anything to do with it, but I think you're being poisoned, Milo."

"Be serious," said Milo Groot.

"That's what I said." David was amazed to find himself agreeing with Milo about anything.

"Well, the most likely candidate is Harley," Milo went on. "And I would question his capability not only to conceive but to carry out such a crime."

"Look, Milo, Harley's been picking on you ever since first grade. He called you 'Four Eyes' then, and tripped you every time you walked past him, remember?"

Milo cringed. "Thank you for reminding me."

"Sorry," said Sebastian. "The point is — "

"The point is that Harley is a cretin. I know that. We all know that. We know too that Harley humiliated me in front of the entire school last spring at the awards assembly. But we also know that he didn't do anything any other student wouldn't have done if he'd had the opportunity. I am not exactly Mister Popularity at Pembroke Middle, Barth. If you want to compile a list of suspects for your poisoning caper, here's last year's yearbook. Open it to any page and point your finger."

Sebastian caught the book Milo tossed to him, and went on determinedly, "When you came to school today, how did you feel? You told me in shop class that the flu was gone. And you didn't look sick."

"I felt fine," said Milo. "So I have a strange virus. What of it?"

"When the nurse saw you, did she just take your word for what was wrong with you?"

"That, and the evidence I left on the cafeteria floor."

"Have you seen a doctor yet?"

"My family doesn't use them. Well, we use them occasionally, but only for emergencies. You might say we're lapsed Christian Scientists." Milo stopped talking and fell back onto his pillow. Beads of sweat glistened on his forehead. "I think my fever's up again," he said, closing his eyes. "I'm tired. Can we talk about homework tomorrow, Barth?"

"Sure," said Sebastian, standing. David rose with him.



"You're serious, aren't you? You really do think someone's been poisoning me."

"I told you I did."

"In that case..."


"In that case, may I join your investigation?"

Sebastian and David looked at each other in surprise.

"Please," Milo went on, his voice growing soft. "I can help. Look around you. I have spent a great deal of time investigating the mysteries of the universe in this little room of mine. I'm good at finding things out, Barth. Besides . . ." It seemed that sleep was about to overtake him. "Besides, if your theory is correct, I have a right to know who it is . . . who it is who hates me so much."

David knew what Sebastian's next words would be, even as he dreaded hearing them spoken.

"Consider yourself in, Milo."

Milo's eyes opened. "Really?"

"Really. Get some rest, okay? We'll be back tomorrow."

"Tomorrow," said Milo, shutting his eyes again. A few seconds later, he began to snore.

Meet the Author

James Howe is the author of more than ninety books for young readers, including the modern classic Bunnicula and its highly popular sequels. In 2001, Howe published The Misfits, the story of four outcast seventh-graders who try to end name-calling in their school. The Misfits is now widely read and studied in middle schools throughout the country, and was the inspiration for the national movement known as No Name-Calling Week (NoNameCallingWeek.org), an event observed by thousands of middle and elementary schools annually. There are three companion novels to The Misfits: Totally Joe (2005), Addie on the Inside (2011), and Also Known as Elvis (2014). Howe’s many other books for children from preschool through teens frequently deal with the acceptance of difference and being true to oneself. Visit him online at JamesHowe.com.

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Eat Your Poison, Dear 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After I read the book called, Eat Your Poision Dear, by my favorite other, James Howw, left this mysterie in my head tell the very end of the book.I loved when Sabastion Barth thinks there is something saspisous happing to the food.It was kind of gross but very intriging.I didnt have to tell you all that but I told you just incase you wanted to know.All I really had to tell you is that if you like mysterious and higher level books, you should come buy this book from this outstanding book store called, Barnes&Noble.I gave this book 3 stars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was supper! A great Mystery to read! I reommend it defintly!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book kept me guessing until the end. It's funny, too. I kept reading and didn't even stop to eat. I would read another mystery by James Howe. I definitely recommend this book to mystery lovers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mysteries are never as as Howe's