September 17, 2009

The Dunderheads

This week's Booking Through Thursday question, "What's the most enjoyable, most fun, most just-dang-entertaining book you've read recently?" will give me a chance to write up a recent kids book I liked but haven't gotten around to posting.

The Dunderheads by Paul Fleischman and perfectly illustrated by David Roberts.

I love almost everything Paul Fleischman does. He's amazing. Ususally I think of him as a poet or novelist, but the picture book Westlandia is one of my favorite read-alouds in fourth and fifth grades and leads to so many interesting conversations. This year one kid was struck by the sundial and asked if they were real. Soon enough we found some websites and found out how to make our own sundials with tagboard and straws. Coolio!

This book covers the well-worn group of misfits on a mission a la Goonies, but these kids are going up against their teacher. Sort of a modern update on Roald Dahl's Matilda with Fleischman's Miss Breakbone doing a pretty good version of Dahl's Miss Trunchbull. There's something delicious about getting revenge on mean teachers, isn't there?

The illustrations make this one. It's so much fun that I was hoping for more. Sequels would be nice, but this group could pull of something bigger if they wished. Nothing like revenge for just-dang-entertainment, I always say.