Edward Bloor,
Story Time
(Harcourt, 2004)

This darkly sparkling satire on the foibles of the American education system is not at all what we'd typically expect from a young-adult novel. While brighter and somewhat less acidic than Lemony Snicket's unfortunate oeuvre, the characters herein soar not only in Peter Pan-esque bravado and elan, but also in smartly targeting right on its turgid mark.

When combined, a haunted library, complete with very quirky librarians; a family where eccentricity and egomania are a long-standing and requisite condition; and lots of goofy fun and weirdness make for an incredible reading experience.

While this would be a great addition to the "while we're waiting for the next Potter/Snicket/Funke/Paolini, etc." list, there's a lot here for reluctant readers and generally fans of the kooky. This would also be great for classroom use in teaching the joys of satire.

by Stephen Richmond
18 February 2006

Buy it from Amazon.com.