- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 3 - 7
- Lexile Measure: 0760 (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Dial Books (February 16, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0803739192
- ISBN-13: 978-0803739192
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,058,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Pilfer Academy: A School So Bad It's Criminal Hardcover – February 16, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—George has five siblings, and he seems to be the one who is always in trouble. His life is totally turned upside down the day he gets kidnapped. His kidnappers, Strongarm and Ballyrag, take him off to a school called Pilfer Academy, where the students are taught the fine art of thievery. George becomes a model student and begins to make friends, but after the midterm exams, he realizes that stealing things makes him feel awful. In an attempt to get expelled, he is sent to the dreaded whirlyblerg. Lucky for him, he gets a second chance to redeem himself, and instead of becoming a thief, he plans and plots a way to escape so he can return home to his family. This middle grade novel offers some humor as Ballyrag spouts one malapropism after another. The descriptions of the lavishness of the school and the bounty of the food in the cafeteria are highly entertaining. Yet the story does not ring true, especially at the end with the speed of George's great escape. VERDICT Pass on this title, and instead hand middle grade readers a wickedly clever mystery by Lemony Snicket or Pseudonymous Bosch.—Elizabeth Kahn, Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy, Avondale, LA
Praise for Pilfer Academy:
"Magaziner creates another weird and silly world that mirrors Hogwarts without the magic...A fun fantasy romp."—Kirkus Reviews
"Humorous and engaging. This is an ideal choice for readers who wish boarding school books had a little more mischief."—Booklist
"School-story buffs with a taste for absurd, off-kilter humor will find this a welcome addition to the mix."—BCCB
Praise for The Only Thing Worse Than Witches:
*"Combines Roald Dahl's Witches and Louis Sachar's Wayside School....readers will banish themselves from the ordinary world to finish this book in a flash."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"A rollicking tale...first-time novelist Lauren Magaziner fashions a rich and compelling alternative reality."—The Chicago Tribune
"Magaziner’s debut has echoes of Dahl’s Matilda... a fun, frothy story that will, well, charm its readers."—Publishers Weekly
"Mrs. Frabbleknacker is as awful as her name, with antics reminiscent of scenes from Louis Sachar’s Sideways Stories from Wayside School gone wrong."—School Library Journal
"Ideal for middle-grade readers who love Roald Dahl’s Matilda (1988) and enjoy humor with their fantasy, this debut novel is madcap and fantastical. It’s the perfect thing for kids not quite ready for Diane Duane or Madeleine L’Engle."—Booklist
"The kids’ slowly forming friendship has real grace and authenticity...Eva Ibbotson fans will appreciate the quirky humor."—BCCB
"This hilarious, light-hearted debut would be a great read-aloud for middle grade classrooms."—Library Media Connection
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Top Customer Reviews
Lauren Magaziner’s Pilfer Academy: A School So Bad It’s Criminal, is a wildly funny and zany romp through the world of thievery! With a charming and firecracker-like voice, Magaziner spins a larger than life tale that’s a perfect mix of humor, adventure, and heart. The grand, very large Gothic mansion, that is home to Pilfer Academy, is a wondrous and captivating place, especially since EVERYTHING inside it (including the students!) has been stolen, filched, pilfered, borrowed with no intention of returning...even the mansion itself has been stolen from France! Every nook, cranny, corner, and spare alcove, is bursting with an array of stolen items and artifacts, from the amazing to the downright bizarre.
Magaziner’s storytelling and voice in Pilfer Academy is very reminiscent of Roald Dahl books, where the wit zings, the odd and weird quickly become the norm, and every page is full of unexpected and colorful imagination. And like many of Dahl’s books, the adult characters in Pilfer Academy prove to be not-so-bright, but oh so entertaining wackadoodles, that allow the younger characters to shine. Pilfer Academy is full of precocious, engaging, and interesting youngsters.
Young readers will have a blast attending intriguing classes with George, delight in the oddball antics of the teachers, and be enthralled with the surprises-around-every-corner mansion.
my final thoughts: Pilfer Academy is kooky, quirky, wacky, whimsical fun that will leave readers laughing and thoroughly entertained.
Having adored Lauren Magaziner’s previous book, THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES, I was delighted to read PILFER ACADEMY, and I was not disappointed. PILFER ACADEMY is a fun story with plenty of puns and humor, guaranteeing reading time filled with laughs. The boarding school type setting makes for exciting adventures and great descriptions.
George makes a great protagonist and even role model. He experiences the rush of doing something bad like thievery, but he has a strong conscious. His character development as he learns to listen to his gut is beautiful, especially when his gut goes against what the people around him think. The friendship with Tabitha is lovely as well. She is the Hermione Granger of the academy, and though she and George have rocky spots in their relationship, genuine respect and acceptance are always there. The author includes a nice variety of minor characters, giving just enough specific detail to distinguish them all but never throwing too many characters in at once to become confusing.
PILFER ACADEMY is destined to steal the laughter, hearts, and possibly wallets of many. This humorous story of thievery and friendship teaches readers to listen to their own voice and watch out for any Whirlyblergs.
Bad kid George gets kidnapped and sent to PILFER ACADEMY - the school for thieving! George finds he's actually pretty gifted (though smarty Tabitha is always at the top of the class), but what happens when his education moves toward practical application?
Just like THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES, this book is packed with wordplay, humor, and absurdity that reminded me a lot of Roald Dahl's hilariously wacky books. And just like the best Roald Dahl books, there's even some elements of horror! (Don't want to give away too much, but... THE WHIRLYBLERG)
This one is definitely for fans of Dahl, Louis Sachar, and Hilary McKay. Funny, heartfelt, and over-the-top in all the best ways.