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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
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****Strange Happenings

Five Tales of Transformation

by Avi

Reviewed June 30, 2006.
Harcourt, Orlando, 2006.  147 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (J MCN F AVI).

As soon as I finished this book, I passed it on to my 11-year-old son, and he also thoroughly enjoyed it.  As the subtitle states, this book consists of five stories that involve transformation.

In the first story, a bored boy wishes he could have the life of ease that his cat enjoys.  He learns things aren’t what they seem.  “Babette the Beautiful” is somewhat like “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” only involving a person herself.  The next story tells of a boy so curious that when he is told “Curiosity killed the cat,” he asks, “Why?  What was that cat curious about?”  Let’s just say that he learns that tragedies can also fall upon boys who are excessively curious.

Next, we have the story “The Shoemaker and Old Scratch” in which a shoemaker almost outwits the devil.  The final story tells of spoiled and selfish Simon and his quest to have everyone notice him and to become the greatest hunter in the world.

Not all the stories have happy endings for the main character, but where there are dismal consequences, they are full of irony and leave you chuckling.

This book is a quick read, and a lot of fun.  They would make good read-aloud stories, since they are fun to discuss with your kids.  There is food for thought in every story.

Reviews of other books by Avi:
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
Crispin:  The Cross of Lead
The End of the Beginning
Don't You Know There's a War On?

Copyright © 2006 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.
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