- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 3 - 7
- Series: The Gecko and Sticky (Book 3)
- Library Binding: 224 pages
- Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (January 12, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0375945725
- ISBN-13: 978-0375945724
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 7.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,574,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Gecko and Sticky: Sinister Substitute Library Binding – January 12, 2010
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|Library Binding, January 12, 2010||
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The depraved nemesis of middle-school superhero Dave (aka the Gecko), Damien Black kidnaps a science teacher, disguises himself as a substitute, and takes charge of the class in hopes of uncovering Dave's identity. Dave and Sticky, his smart-mouthed but trusty gecko sidekick, strike back by invading Black’s dangerous domain and causing havoc. Reaching a frenetic level of energy and comedy as the story’s tension builds, Van Draanen’s droll narrative is consistently entertaining. Gilpin’s cartoon-style drawings add their own eclectic charm, and his cover illustration of the demented villain should draw even more readers to the Gecko & Sticky series. Grades 3-5. --Carolyn Phelan --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
Praise for the Gecko & Sticky books:
"A dastardly good read. Written with gleeful wit, rapid-fire pacing and snappy dialogue." -- Kirkus Reviews
"Fearsome is rarely this much fun. Van Draanen has a super imagination, to which she never applies the brakes. Readers who enjoy loony adventures will love this ride." -- Children's Literature
"Consistently entertaining . . . reaching a frenetic level of energy and comedy as the story's tension builds." -- Booklist
"Peppered with exaggerated alliteration and the excitable lizard's Spanish-tinged 'Stickynese,' the wisecracking narrative bounds from one slapstick scenario to another." -- Publishers Weekly --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
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As if having a talking gecko isn't enough, Dave has an even bigger secret. He is also a superhero, all because of Sticky. When Sticky moved into Dave's apartment, he brought with him an ancient Aztec wristband. The magic wristband, when matched with a special ingot, gives the possessor super powers. With Sticky's help and urging, Dave can transform himself into a wall-crawling superhero. And Dave's superhero name: The Gecko.
Did I mention that Sticky and the wristband once belonged to an evil genius who is determined to get them back? Damien Black is a diabolical inventor, ruthless treasure hunter, and, above all, a master of disguise. Damien will do anything to get his hands on Sticky and the magic power band. On a scale of evilness, Ms. Veronica Krockle, Dave's science teacher, is a close match for Damien. Dubbed "The Crocodile" by her students, Ms. Krockle is an expert in strictness and sarcasm, and she loves to dissect frogs. In her nine years of teaching at Geronimo Middle School, she has never been absent.
So when she goes missing on frog-dissecting day, Dave and his classmates celebrate. At first, Dr. Schwarz, Ms. Krockle's substitute, is too good to be true. He tells the class they need not worry about dissecting frogs. He doesn't teach them anything; he just asks them about their pets. But when he drills down and shows a relentless interest in knowing which students have pet geckos, Dave's instincts switch to hyper-sensitive alert. Just who is Dr. Schwarz? And why the unusual interest in geckos?
On the second day that Dr. Schwarz substitutes, Sticky figures it out. Here's a hint: in German, Schwarz means Black. If Dr. Schwarz is really Damien Black, how did he find out which school "The Gecko" attends? And what has he done with Ms. Krockle? More importantly, if Damien has really kidnapped Dave's pain-in-the-class science teacher, does he really want to rescue her?
SINISTER SUBSTITUTE is the third book in Wendelin Van Draanen's The Gecko and Sticky series. Readers of her earlier books will find familiar adversaries, including the dastardly Damien Black and the inept mariachi-playing Bandito Brothers. This latest installment is an adventure story about a teenage boy who must make a choice after he finds himself in a dangerous and messy situation. In fact, the passages having to do with donkey-doo and a flesh-eating dragon were a tad too messy for me.
While the story is for the most part light-hearted and fun, the message is clear: doing the right thing isn't always easy, but it can be rewarding and lead to an incredible adventure. Middle-grade readers who love adventure stories or who dream of having superhero powers should relish this book.
--- Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt (email@example.com)