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The Anybodies Paperback – August 23, 2005

51 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8–This inventive novel has elements of Cornelia Funke's Inkheart (Scholastic, 2003) and Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events" (HarperCollins). Fern Drudger, an imaginative misfit in her extraordinarily boring family, discovers that she and Howard Bone were switched at birth. The adults decide that the children will spend the summer with their birth parents and Fern meets her father, the Bone. He is an "Anybody"–he can change into someone or something else. However, he's not very good at it. He's convinced that Fern can help him find The Art of Being Anybody, a book once owned by his dead wife, which will allow him to improve his skills–but he must locate it before his enemy, the Miser, does and stop him from using it for evil purposes. Fern and the Bone end up in disguise at Fern's grandmother's boarding house, a magical, if dilapidated, palace of books, where anything can happen, especially if you happen to be an Anybody. Like Snicket, Bode is an amusing presence within this story about family, imagination, love of the written word, the dangers of hypnosis, and how to put an army of fairies to good use. The writing is fluid, the characters are multifaceted, and the situations range from poignant to gloriously silly. Eye-catching, black-and-white sketches echo the story's nuances and add to the atmosphere. There's laugh-out-loud humor, fantasy, mystery, real-life family drama, and the potential for a sequel. What more could a reader want?–Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 5-8. Though a hospital error left Fern to be raised by the "tragically dull" Drudgers, her biological parents were Anybodies--professional shapeshifters. When 12-year-old Fern reunites with her widowed father, she learns that his transforming abilities have mysteriously disappeared. Their quest to restore his powers occasions a visit to Fern's grandmother, whose vast library gives Fern a chance to discover a talent of her own: by shaking books, she can make elements of the stories tumble into the real world. Writing under a tongue-in-cheek pseudonym, Julianna Baggot, the author of three novels for adults, folds in numerous inside jokes for kid-lit fans (a tree bearing a giant peach makes an appearance, as do hobbits and Borrowers). The many-pronged plot doesn't always hang together (what Fern's book-related gifts have to do with her Anybody heritage is left frustratingly vague), but the plummy, discursive narrative style will appeal to fans of Dahl and Snicket, and the loony goings-on will entice young bibliophiles back for future installments. Rough but charming sketches by Peter Ferguson were included in the galley. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 8
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (August 23, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439802644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060557379
  • ASIN: 0060557370
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #268,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on August 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
What do you get when you add a sprinkle of magic, a twist of mystery, and a slew of colorful characters? Welcome to the world of THE ANYBODIES! First, we meet eleven-year-old Fern Drudger who is trapped in a rather dull life with her tragically boring parents. Mr. and Mrs. Drudger are both accountants at a firm called Beige and Beige. They enjoy dull things only: toasters, sponges, and refrigerator magnets.

Fern, on the other hand, is different from her parents. She loves books and writing in her journal. Fern is anything but dull and has had some unusual things happen to her. As a toddler, she filled her room with crickets when she was looking at a picture book. And once, when she was learning to read, she caught snow that turned into words. She made the words into a curious sentence: "Things aren't always what they seem, are they?" And more recently, the strange events have increased. Fern observes a nun turn into a lamppost, and then during her swimming class, she sees a bat become a pile of marbles! Fern can't tell her dull parents about these strange sights. They already think she has an "overactive dysfunction" --- an imagination!

One day, Fern's boring world is interrupted by a shocking surprise. Mary Curtain, the hospital nurse who delivered Fern, arrives in tears. She tells the Drudgers that there's been a horrible mistake. Fern is not a Drudger after all! She was switched at birth with a boy named Howard. Howard is with the nurse as well as a man, Fern's father, who calls himself the Bone. A quick decision is made --- Fern will go with the Bone for the summer and Howard will stay with the Drudgers.

As soon as Fern leaves with the Bone, her adventure begins. You see, the Bone is not like the Drudgers in the least.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Durham on July 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Fern Drudger's family is extremely boring. They are nothing like Fern. After twelve years of living with her dull family, Fern discovers that she and a boy named Howard Bone were switched at birth. When the adults decide that Fern and Howard should spend a summer with their birth parents, Fern is whisked away by her father, the Bone. Not knowing what to make of him, Fern learns that he is an "Anybody." He can change into someone or something else at any time. But, he's not very good at it and he's convinced that Fern can help him. Readers, who enjoy Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket, should enjoy this first-in-a-series. The pen sketches sprinkled throughout add just a bit more flavor to this already clever tale. With both humor and real-life family drama along with a little mystery, this fantasy will prove to be a quick and entertaining read for all.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Curry on January 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's true! Everyday after lunch, I read to my 3rd graders. We have a short window of time before going to recess. One of my students bought the book "The Anybodies" for me from our school book fair (I had hinted for it).

Even in the first day of reading, they were hooked. Did I mention I only have a short time to read? Fifteen minutes to be exact. The class was hooked. By the end of the first week, the classroom clock would be pointing to 12:30...recess time, but none of my students budged. None reminded me of the time. I had to stop reading, but they wanted to hear more.

Ok, N.E. Bode, whoever you are, what kind of magical literary genius can spin a tale so mesmerizing that even 8 yr olds deny themselves the frivolity of recess in order to hear "what happens next"?

When the last day of reading "The Anybodies" rolled around, the kids were downtrodden to say the least. What to do now? So, on to trusty What on earth is there to read following that addicting novel? AHA!

Yes, N.E. Bode, we're reading "The Nobodies" and, yes, we're hooked again. See a review for that book in a few short weeks. You have made fans and friends of us all! What does that old writing professor of yours know anyway?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Terri Rowan on July 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
Fern Drudger's family is exceedingly dull. The first eleven years of her life have been spent feeling as though she belonged somewhere else, especially given her tendency to see unusual things. These aren't things ordinary children should see: crickets hopping from a book, a nun who turns into a lamppost, and the mysterious scraps of paper that, when arranged properly, tell her "Things aren't always what they seem."

One day, Fern finds out why she's so different from the Drudgers. They aren't her parents after all. She was swapped at birth, and now her real father, "the Bone" has appeared at her door wanting to unswap her with the Drudgers' real child, Howard.

Fern is thrilled and scared and sad when she's allowed to go with the Bone. Accepting her new identity means learning that her real mother died in childbirth, her father was in jail many years, an enemy called "the Miser" is after something special, and her grandmother lives in a house made of books. Oh yeah, the most important part: Fern is a natural-born Anybody--a person who can make wondrous things happen.

With all the new things being thrown at her, it'll be a wonder if Fern can hang on long enough to find an extremely rare book that used to belong to her mother. In the meantime, she might learn a few things about herself, and her family.

In a voice as dry as a desert in drought, N.E. Bode tells the story of the biggest turning point in Fern's life (so far). Quirky characters come to life in fun ways that children will love, and the unbelievable series of events will evoke laughter, sadness, and more.

There is a thinly veiled story, just below the surface, on the part of the narrator. N.E.
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