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The Strictest School in the World: Being the Tale of a Clever Girl, a Rubber Boy and a Collection of Flying Machines, Mostly Broken (The Mad Misadventures of Emmaline and Rubberbones) Hardcover – August 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Series: The Mad Misadventures of Emmaline and Rubberbones
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Kids Can Press (August 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1553378822
  • ISBN-13: 978-1553378822
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,550,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8–Emmaline Cayley grew up in India, but as she approaches the age of 14, her very proper mother (who is married to a very proper British colonial official) sends her home to England to attend the harsh St. Grimelda's School for Young Ladies. Emmaline is not interested in becoming a young lady–she wants to follow in the footsteps of her great-great-uncle, Sir George Cayley, and design flying machines. In the weeks before school starts, she teams up with Rab, a 12-year-old village boy whom everyone calls Rubberbones because he can fall out of a tree or get hit by a brick and suffer no damage, and the two of them build several gliders. Once Emmaline goes off to St. Grimelda's, her potty Aunt Lucy, Rubberbones, and their allies realize what a horror the place is and initiate an elaborate plot to help her escape on a giant, smuggled-in, homemade kite. This comic tale of a slightly alternative Victorian England is goofy and fun. It loses some of its impact, however, because the school–which uses the fearsome pterodactyls it has owned since the 16th century to catch any girls who try to escape–is built up as a horror. But its pompous, ruler-wielding headmistress and teachers don't seem to frighten Emmaline and her friends much, so they won't scare readers, either. Slavin's intricate pen-and-ink drawings are properly atmospheric. A sequel is virtually guaranteed.–Walter Minkel, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

This comic tale is goofy and fun ? Slavin’s intricate pen-and-ink drawings are properly atmospheric.

A fun novel ...

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
It's so much fun!
Jennifer Robinson
While the story enchants the pre-teen in your life, the Pythonesque humour is sure to keep you in stitches.
Vern Nicholson
Soon a rescue operation is under way to save Emmaline from St. Grimelda's.
Kelly Herold

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Robinson on October 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I had read a glowing review of The Strictest School in the World last month, so I was quite pleased when a review copy showed up in my mailbox. The Strictest School in the World lived up to my expectations. It's so much fun! It's a book aimed squarely at the 9-12 set, featuring lovably eccentric characters, larger-than-life bad guys, two independent-minded protagonists, and madcap adventures.

The story is set in Yorkshire, England in 1894 (the late Victorian Era). The two protagonists are fourteen-year-old Emmaline Cayley and twelve-year-old Robert Burns (also called Rab). Emmaline is sent from India, where she has grown up, to live with her Aunt Lucy in England, prior to attending boarding school. (There are definite echoes here of Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden and The Little Princess, though Emmaline is a more independent thinker than either Sara Crewe or Mary Lennox.)

Emmaline is obsessed with creating a flying machine, even though she herself is afraid of flying. Imagine her delight when she meets the intrepid Rab, called Rubberbones because of his rubber-like ability to survive falls with nary a scratch. Rubberbones, who has dropped out of school to earn money for his family, is more than happy to be paid by Aunt Lucy to support Emmaline in her flying machine projects. And Rubberbones turns out to have an instinctive knack for aviation. Together, with the support of Aunt Lucy and her unconventional butler Lal Singh, the two spend the summer constructing flying machines. They have varying degrees of success.

Their happy world is interrupted, however, when Emmaline is sent away to school. The school that her mother has selected for her, sight unseen, has a reputation for being "the strictest school for girls in the world.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kelly Herold on December 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have to say upfront that "The Strictest School in the World" is my favorite type of children's novel. It's a Middle Grade adventure story involving a daring girl, a crazy aunt, a Dickensian boarding school, and flying machines. What more could you want? Written by Howard Whitehouse and illustrated by Bill Slavin, "The Strictest School in the World" is well written fun for the 9-13-year-old reader.

Emmaline Cayley dreams of flying. Her great-great-uncle was Sir George Cayley, a historical figure and pioneer in aviation, and she uses his plans to design flying machines. Her only problem is that she herself is afraid to fly.

When Emmaline is fourteen, she is sent by her clueless parents from India to England to attend St. Grimelda's School for Young Ladies. The only benefit to this arrangement is that she has the opportunity to stay with her slightly-unhinged Aunt Lucy before the term starts. There she meets "Rubberbones" or "Rab," a small boy who never hurts himself when he falls. Rather, he bounces on impact. Emmaline has found her pilot and, in her aunt, a source of funding for her inventions.

When Emmaline is sent to school, all inventing has to stop. Instead, she's a student at a the "strictest school in the world." The girls live in fear, the matron is a monster, and a couple of "birds" patrol the ground. Soon a rescue operation is under way to save Emmaline from St. Grimelda's.

"The Strictest School in the World" is funny, smart, and exciting. Emmaline is a wonderful character, a girl scientist who is unflinching in the face of danger. Give this one to a Middle Grade reader today!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By mimagirl on March 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Emmaline Cayley, an English girl who has spent her entire 14 years in India, has been shipped off by her parents to England to attend a boarding school, St. Grimelda's School for Young Ladies. Her letter of acceptance arrives from the school:

Miss Cayley,

You are to report to this school for educational purposes. Please do not even consider attempting to avoid this necessity. The arrangements are firm and will not be altered.

The harsh tone of the letter is nothing compared to what Emmaline finds the school to be when she arrives. Under such depressing circumstances, how is she supposed to follow her dream of creating a flying machine? Will she ever see her aunt and friend again?

I put The Strictest School in the World on my to-read list after I read Jen Robinson's positive review (she heard about it from Kelly). And I'm glad I did. Filled with charming illustrations and written in a delightfully old-fashioned manner, this story is enjoyable from start to finish. You will cheer for Emmaline and Rubberbones throughout their various adventures and mishaps. I'm hoping for a sequel!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Fourteen year old Emmaline and 12 year old Robert Burns (Rubberbones) are trying to build a flying machine. They are almost done when....she is sent to a school from a horror movie, St. Grimelda's. It is a very funny book. I loved it. Any boy or girl that likes Harry Potter would like this. It is satisfying, and you won't fall asleep reading it. I couldn't put it down. You won't be able to either.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Vern Nicholson on September 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Howard Whitehouse has crafted a hilarious tale about a Victorian schoolgirl's struggle to build her own flying machine. While the story enchants the pre-teen in your life, the Pythonesque humour is sure to keep you in stitches. At no additional cost, you also get to imbibe the gorgeous illustrations of Bill Slavin. All told, it's a rollicking ride. Highly recommended!
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The Strictest School in the World: Being the Tale of a Clever Girl, a Rubber Boy and a Collection of Flying Machines, Mostly Broken (The Mad Misadventures of Emmaline and Rubberbones)
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