Gr 3-5-What do a fresh-faced biology teacher, a horde of locusts, a confused boy, his scheming sister, their harried mother, and a wandering skeleton all have in common? They're links in a sticky scenario involving Ned and Jess and their latest boarder. When Ned discovers all of the strange things the man (dubbed Kid Kibble) keeps in his attic room, he's sold on the new tenant. But Jess is determined to put him to the test. Between her disastrous pranks and Kid's calamitous experiments, the household is turned on its ear. But it's ultimately Jess, who has learned to appreciate and identify with Kid, who helps convince everyone to make the situation work. Through dialogue and Ned's thoughtful observations, the author paints characters that readers can see and feel. The book is written for a slightly older audience than Hendry's The Carey Street Cat and The Not-Anywhere House (both Lothrop, 1991). Gon's simple black-ink sketches give readers just enough detail to see the conflict build. In all, an engaging story that will make youngsters wish they could import Kid Kibble into their own classrooms (or attics).-Christina Dorr, Calcium Primary School, NY
When Mom announces that Mr. Kibble, the new seventh-grade biology teacher, will be boarding in their home, Ned is apprehensive, but his sister, Jess, is mortified. Mr. Kibble arrives toting a skeleton named Ernest, a trombone, and assorted cages, and Ned realizes that Mr. Kibble (nickname Kid) is anything but ordinary. Life isn't ordinary either with Kid around: he takes Ned on worm hunts, breeds locusts in the sandbox, and fills the refrigerator with strange jars of bulls' eyes and fish heads. Even Ernest the skeleton begins to appear in strange places (in the bathtub and in front of the television). Young readers will revel in the humor of Hendry's episodic tale, amply illustrated with Gon's amusing pen-and-ink sketches.