From School Library Journal
Grades 4-6--This fifth in the series continues to recount the rivalry between the girls, the Tattletales, and the boys, the Copycats, of Miss Earth's class in rural Vermont. It's an eventful spring for them, with a bullying new student, Thud Tweed; a Spring Egg Hunt; and three genetically altered eggs that hatch fire-breathing chicks. A company called Geneworks is attempting to reverse evolution to create a large, unquestioning workforce that can be rented out at great gain. While seven of the genetically altered eggs, tucked in a briefcase, are en route to researchers at Dartmouth College, a member of Mother Nature's Avengers steals the briefcase just before his motorcycle is struck by lightning. Unbeknownst to anyone, three of the eggs survive, and they are discovered by three of Miss Earth's students during the egg hunt, a competitive fund-raiser for a new fire engine. Miss Earth's class wins, but then is disqualified for lying and cheating. To redeem themselves, the students join together to raise money by putting on a concert by wildly popular country-and-western singer Petunia Whiner, who just happens to be Thud's mother. There is nothing subtle here; silly puns and slapstick humor carry this broad farce. Maguire captures the social politics of middle schoolers, and conveys the message that cooperation, rather than cliques, solves problems. Of the three chicks, one dies, but two remain, one in captivity and one on the loose in the wild. Will they turn up in the next Hamlet Chronicle? Fans of the series will be anxiously anticipating the next delightful romp.Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 3-7. The author of Four Stupid Cupids
(2000) returns to the Hamlet Chronicles series with a new book that finds Miss Earth's class participating in the annual spring egg hunt. Naturally, the rival Tattletales (girls) and Copycats (boys) are each determined to win, but the group dynamics change when a swaggering bully named Thud Tweed joins the class. At the same time, three genetically altered eggs are brought into town, and former club members Lois and Salim join Thud in secretly caring for them. Maguire offers plenty of humor, intrigue, quirky characterization, and surprise twists to please young readers, as well as some serious commentary just beneath the surface story: What is it like to be shunned by a group? Which is more important--nature or nurture (Are rotten eggs born or do they develop as a result of their environment)? Both newcomers to the series and long-time fans will enjoy this book and look forward to upcoming installments. Kay WeismanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved