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The Fourth Stall Paperback – January 3, 2012


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Series: Fourth Stall (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 314 pages
  • Publisher: Walden Pond Press; 1st edition (January 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061994979
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061994975
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Sixth-graders Mac and Vince have been running an advice and assistance service for fellow grade-school students since they were in kindergarten. Mac is a problem solver, Vince is a whiz at keeping track of the money and favors they earn, and both boys are avid Chicago Cubs fans. Their �office� is located in an underused school bathroom, hence this first novel�s title. The business takes a beating�and then so does the boys� friendship�when an older kid applies muscle to the threats he has made to grade-schoolers who owe gambling debts. Rylander has created a cast of memorable and varied characters, replete with emotional as well as social lives. Mac narrates the convoluted tale with the arch flatness of a 1940s satire of the noir detective genre, so swallowing even the more preposterous coincidences is easy for the sake of the story�s fun. An excellent boy book that would do well in a father-son book discussion. Grades 4-7. --Francisca Goldsmith --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

Here is an original-a story that really gets how guys are pals. It’s also funny, mysterious, and true to the heart of what really matters when you are in middle school. Do yourself a favor. Read it. Now. (Jon Scieszka, author of the Time Warp Trio series)

Debut novelist Rylander mines a substantial amount of humor and heart from this combination hard-boiled crime novel and middle-grade character piece. A light and enjoyable caper. (Publishers Weekly)

Draws in even the most apprehensive young reader… A robust story rich in action, adventure, humor, and friendship. (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))

Mac narrates the tale with the arch flatness of a 1940s satire of the noir detective genre…Excellent. (ALA Booklist)

Customer Reviews

The Fourth Stall was an amazing book!
Evan Bendall
This is a great book for middle schoolers, and is humorous and enjoyable for anyone who has seen the Godfather movies, and entertaining for younger readers.
Alexander Thorburn-Winsor
Vince is Mac's business partner and best friend.
Alison's

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By DAC VINE VOICE on February 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Christian who goes by the nickname Mac runs a business in school, helping other students out with this problems. Vince is Mac's best friend and partner. Mac's office is the fourth Stall in East Wings boys bathroom. Mac has built a name for himself and does great business. Everything is threatened when Mac learns that Staples, a high school crime boss is setting up business at his school.

There are a few other (not many) very fun middle grade novels in the same vein as The Fourth Stall. Though this one stands apart because Mac isn't all that good. Mac will help other students get answers to test or sneak into PG 13 movies. After Mac said in his business he helped other students cheat, I was like uh-oh. Though then I remembered its fun to read about a character who would do something you would never do. Mac is definitely the good guy here. He's a great friend to Vince and listens to his parents.

Mac must figure out a way to get Staples operation in his school closed down. He is forced to ask the school bullies for help. One of the books strengths is back information. Mac, outlines all nine bullies, from Nubby to Kitten the top bully. Also in the beginning Mac explains how he came to acquire the fourth stall as his office. The explanation fit smoothly into the story and made sense.

Rylander tells a good and entertaining story. Some of it, like high school students going to war with middle grade students is a bit over the top. Though Mac's likability and his friendship with Vince keeps it grounded. Mac and Vince love the Chicago Cubs. They do their best to stump each other with Cubs trivia.

My favorite small character was Tyrell, the schools best spy. Mac only uses his services when he has no other choice.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth on August 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I agree with the reviewer who said that, if you like novels about organized crime in grammar schools, this is the book for you. I read "The Fourth Stall", so I could discuss it with eleven year old Grandson. He enjoyed the book very much. It's fast-paced, he liked the humor, and found the relationship between Mac and Vince convincing. He bought into the culture of the kids at school and was not at all surprised at the stressful situations characters in the book had to deal with. He's already reading the next book.

Grandpa isn't so sure. Mac is a grammar school "fixer". For a fee or a favor, he and his partner Vince help kids solve problems. Getting them answers to tests, forging doctor's notes or getting them video games their parents don't want them to play are the types of favors he most often performs. You know, avoiding silly rules imposed by grown-ups. Grandson thought this was fine, which is why I read the books. One day, however, Mac is confronted by a far more serious problem. A kid named Fred, who works for Mac's high school counterpart, a kid named Staples who fixes sports games and runs a bookmaking operation, has tried to quit, and now needs protection from Staples' organization. Mac agrees to take on the job. How Mac deals with Staples makes up the rest of the book.

My issue with "The Fourth Stall" is that it is ethically ambivalent, and the middle school kids who read it probably lack the maturity to realize when heroes cross the moral line. Two examples:

1. Mac is attacked by a bully used by Staples called "the Collector". He responds by hiring bullies of his own not only to punish The Collector physically, but to use social media to humiliate the kid until he leaves school.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on March 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Sixth-grader Christian Barrett, commonly known as Mac (short for MacGyver), can solve your problems. With his office conveniently located in the fourth stall in the East Wing boy's bathroom, Mac is open for business during recess and lunch and will work his magic --- for a small fee, of course. He and his best friend, Vince, can hook anyone up with test answers, forged doctor's notes, movie tickets, and anything else a kid might need. They have been operating their business for years, all for the hope of saving enough money to watch the Chicago Cubs play in the World Series. That is, if they actually make it. So far, business has been booming. But that was before Mac's latest case walked through the door on Monday morning.

Mac thought he was mistaken when little third-grader Fred said he needed protection from the high school crime boss Staples. Staples is supposedly a myth, a legend, something to scare kids into submission. After ruling the roost for so long, Mac was shocked to hear that Staples had set up his own betting ring right under his nose. Nobody messes with Mac's turf, so Mac and Vince reluctantly agreed to protect Fred and get to the bottom of Staples's plan. They just had no idea what they were getting themselves into.

Mac immediately went to his sources. He checked with Ears, a kid who knew all the gossip, and slowly started to piece things together. First, Mac, Vince and their small gang took out Staples's collector. Then, Mac decided to round up all the bullies in the middle school --- even the psycho kid they call Kitten --- and managed to stop kids placing bets and intimidate Staples's small gang. It looked as though Mac had won, but that was before Staples sent him a little message --- a dead rat in his locker --- and paid him a visit at his home.
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