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Story Time Paperback – April 1, 2004

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 - 12
  • Paperback: 420 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books; 1 edition (April 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152046704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152046705
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,408,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Blend equal parts Harry Potter, Cornelia Funke's Inkheart, and Ghostbusters and add a healthy dose of withering satire on the U.S. education system, and you have Edward Bloor's clever new novel, Story Time. When eighth grader Kate and her Uncle George (who is two years younger than her) receive letters inviting them to attend the Whittaker Magnet School, home of nasty protein shakes and the freakish "Test-Based Curriculum," their reactions are mixed. George, somewhat of a genius, is pleased, while Kate is horrified. Still, as a search on-line reveals, their house is suddenly in the Whittaker school district, so off they go. It's not long, before they discover something very strange is afoot at their new school. For one thing, the Whittaker-Austin family has rather alarming delusions of grandeur. For another, it seems a number of people have died at the school under mysterious circumstances. Then there's the librarian called Pogo, who speaks only in Mother Goose rhymes. With the President of the United States on his way for a tour of the school, the Whittaker-Austins want to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible--meaning no dead bodies in the soft drink cooler, no shenanigans from the mushroom-pale zombie students, and definitely no unscheduled visits from the resident demon.

As in his previous young adult novels, Tangerine and Crusader, Bloor's characters sparkle with life (or glow with unearthly non-life…). Story Time is hilarious, biting, and tremendously fun to read. (Ages 11 and older) --Emilie Coulter

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9-A book filled with social satire, black comedy, fantasy/humor, and extreme situations. Eighth-grader Katie and her brilliant Uncle George, a sixth grader, find themselves mysteriously redistricted and assigned to Whittaker Magnet School, which focuses entirely on excellence in standardized testing. The regimented kids are taught by regimented teachers in the basement of a haunted old library building and the school is run by a strange family obsessed with its own achievements, whether they are earned or not. All sorts of things are amiss at Whittaker, where elitism reigns; where dramatic deaths are hidden nearly as carefully as the dark secrets involving the building, the town, and the people who live there; and where appearances are paramount. Back at home, Kate lives with her agoraphobic mom, who has mysterious ties to the library, while George lives next door. Kate wants only to return to Lincoln Middle, where she could play Peter Pan and be with friends, while George tries to make the best of what is a monstrously warped situation. The Whittaker family goes to extremes to impress the visiting First Lady, creating an atmosphere ripe for catastrophe-as well as for redemption. This expansive and engrossing tale has elements of Roald Dahl, J. K. Rowling, and J. M. Barrie (the Peter Pan subtheme is not coincidental), but with a decidedly American flair. The many seemingly unconnected threads do eventually come together, but it is hardly worth the effort as this overly ambitious author has spread himself way too thin.-Mary R. Hofmann, Rivera Middle School, Merced, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

I have always been a writer, for as far back as I can remember. In the mid-1990s, I sold a novel that was marketed in the young adult genre. Since then, things have gone very, very well. I am married to a beautiful teacher named Pam. We have two children--Amanda and Spencer.

Customer Reviews

This book is a great read for teens and young adults!
Emily Carroll
The story is unusual, scary, and sprinkled with tongue-in-cheek humor.
Elisabeth Dixon
He gave it a chance and kept reading but just didn't like it.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Richmond VINE VOICE on September 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
This darkly sparkling satire on the foibles of the American education system is not at all what we'd typically expect from a YA novel. While brighter and somewhat less acidic than Lemony Snicket's unfortunate oeuvre, the characters herein soar not only in Peter Pan-esque bravado and elan, but also in smartly targeting right on its turgid mark. When combined, a haunted library, completed with way quirky librarians; a family where eccentricity and egomania are a long-standing and requisite condition, and lots of goofy fun weirdness make for an incredible reading experience. While this would be a great addition to the "while we're waiting for the next Potter/Snicket/Funke/Paolini, etc." list, there's a lot here for reluctant readers and generally fans of the kooky. This would also be great for classroom use in teaching the joys of satire.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Frank Anderson on March 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
Story Time, the brand new novel by the author of Tangerine and Crusader, is chock full of wonderfully crazy details in the lives of Kate Melvil and her Uncle George, who end up attending the very strange Whittaker Magnet School together. What makes this novel a gem, I think, is how fully realized all the characters are, even the minor ones. These realistic details only add to the surreal fun of the shenanigans at Whittaker. Yes, there are some satirical elements about schools and standardized testing, but you don't need a protein drink to enjoy the bizarre, very funny, world Bloor has concocted.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on May 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
George Melvil, certifiable genius, and his niece Kate Peters, certifiable shoo-in for the lead in Lincoln Junior High's production of "Peter Pan," are offered spots at the prestigious Whittaker Magnet School. Whittaker Magnet, known for having the highest standardized test scores in the country, is housed in the same building as the supposedly haunted county library. While Kate has zero desire to attend a basement school full of brainwashed test-takers, George is intrigued by the opportunity to attend a school where he won't be judged unfairly on his small stature and interest in academics.
Their careers at Whittaker Magnet begin with an orientation from the domineering, treacherous Cornelia Whittaker Austin and sightings of a madwoman with a chainsaw in an upstairs window. Things only get stranger from there, involving secret passages, a librarian who only speaks in nursery rhymes, weapons of mass destruction and priceless books that house demons.
Fans of Edward Bloor's quirky settings, self-sufficient characters and strange-but-nearly-possible conspiracies will find this story enjoyable and thought provoking. Without beating the reader over the head with messages about standardized testing, literacy, intelligence, wealth and ignorance, Bloor manages to make the reader consider all of these topics and how they pertain to schools today.
So whether you're one of those people who can get a perfect score on the SAT with both eyes closed or if you chew number-two pencils to bits at the very thought of filling in all those circles, STORY TIME will make you think. And smile. And think some more.
--- Reviewed by Carlie Webber
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Elisabeth Dixon on April 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
The talented author of Tangerine and Crusader, has given us another outstanding novel - Story Time. I found the whole subject matter fantastic, and the way it is presented is nothing short of masterful. The story is unusual, scary, and sprinkled with tongue-in-cheek humor. The compelling need to follow the adventures of Kate and George, makes this a spell-binding, page-turner.
I can only imagine how this book will simply be "gobbled up" by readers of all ages.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Biblibio VINE VOICE on August 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
"Story Time" is a creepy, quite amusing, horror children's story. Those are a lot of descriptions, right? Well, "Story Time" is a lot of things. It's a mockery of the education system, a frightening horror story, a fun romp through the park, and an amusing read, all in one.

For readers coming from "Tangerine" and "Crusader", it may be a bit difficult to digest. "Story Time" is not quite as good as those other books, but it's not bad either. Instead of the strong character and structure that his previous books gave us, Bloor now gives us a dark, humorous book that deals with something completely different.

Moments of "Story Time" are disturbing. The deaths have little impact, though, and that's why it's not quite so difficult to absorb the first time around. Then again, when rereading, one realizes just how many creepy, frightening moments there are.

The humor, though, is quite worth it. The mind-numbing aspects of the school and their obsession with top scores on standardized tests just made me laugh aloud. It's an accurate mocking of some systems that teach purely around the "fill in the bubble" system. Can anybody truly learn from that? No, and enjoy laughs while reading those parts.

The characters are interesting, the plot fun. Overall, it's an enjoyable book, even if a bit creepy, and I liked reading it quite a bit. No, it's not a masterpiece of fiction, and no, I don't love it as I do Bloor's other works, but for someone looking to laugh at school systems or just sit down with a fat, slightly creepy book one afternoon, here's something to read.
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