Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Couple of April Fools (review)

Gregory Maguire. A Couple of April Fools. Illus. Elaine Clayton. New York: Clarion Books, 2004. 182pp. Grades 6th-Up.

What do you get when you genetically cross a domestic chicken with a Galapagos blue-toe lizard? It isn’t as pretty as it sounds. In this sixth book in Maguire’s count-down series we are again facing the unknown as three eggs hatch and these blue-green thingies emerge. Creatures the locals call “Flameburpers” for they shoot out little puffs of flames. Dangerous conditions considering chickens are normally found around barns full of hay. Rival clubs of children, the Tattletales and the Copycats, find them adorable and have become quite attached. Unfortunately one has run into the woods and another has met an untimely death. The children visit the remaining one after school each day, this one is getting larger, scalier and moodier despite the tender stepchicken raising her at Fingerpie Farms. Between visits the rival clubs have been planning April Fools day tricks. These tricks have the power to prove which faction is smarter, the Tattletale girls or the Copycat boys. I’m rooting for the girls in this fun read-aloud. Would be perfect to read all of Maguire’s series out loud as you travel through the same fourth or fifth grade class in a year.

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