Gr. 4-7. This is a charming, funny anthology from little-indie-engine-that-could. McSweeney's boasts an all-star list of contributors from both adult books and children's literature. The collection begins with a hilarious introduction by noted misanthrope Lemony Snicket, who parodies various kid-lit genres (a talking paperweight, a long-division worm who makes math fun, etc.). This sort of kid-friendly irreverence marks the best of these stories. Kelly Link tells the story of a boy who encounters a thoughtful, verbose monster on a summer camp overnight. And Nick Hornby proves his versatility with a quirky tale about a young resident of the world's smallest nation. Some of the stories from adult-book writers aren't as effective--while Jonathan Safran Foer's story (taken from his new novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
) is evocative of childhood, its real audience is adult. But rarely does an anthology contain so much good stuff from big names, and whether they are drawn to the book by Jeanne DuPrau or Jon Sciezka or Snicket, middle-grade readers will likely emerge from this with new favorite authors. John GreenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
From the Inside Flap
Contributors include: Barry Blitt, Juliette Borda, Peter de Sève, Shelley Dick, Henrik Drescher, Jeanne DuPrau, Marcel Dzama, Jonathan Safran Foer, Clement Freud, Neil Gaiman, David Heatley, Brett Helquist, Nick Hornby, Richard Kennedy, James Kochalka, David Levinson Wilk, Kelly Link, George Saunders, Jon Scieszka, Lane Smith, Lemony Snicket, Rachell Sumpter, Sam Swope, and Jan Van Der Veken.