Leslie Margolis is also the author of Boys Are Dogs, the first Annabelle Stevens book. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York. Sadly, she is allergic to cats.
Gr 4-7-Being the new kid in school is often hard enough, but Annabelle finds that dealing with the idiosyncrasies of sixth-grade boys is truly daunting. She misses her friends and doesn't know how she feels about her mother's live-in boyfriend, Ted. Then her mother and Ted surprise her with a puppy and a dog-training manual that proves to be a partial answer to some of her school dilemmas. Annabelle discovers that strategies in the manual can be transferred and tweaked to solve some of the boy issues at school. Using a mixture of confidence, ingenuity, and some excellent Swiss chocolates, she begins to change some difficult situations and behaviors for the better. This clever and humorous premise is deftly handled to create a believable and enjoyable tale with a likable and resourceful heroine whose trials, tribulations, and triumphs will have others wanting a training manual of their own.-Carol Schene, formerly at Taunton Public Schools, MA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
The premise of Margolis's (Fix) effervescent story--a girl uses the techniques from a dog-training manual on boys--has been seen before (e.g., Sandra Dee in If a Man Answers), but rarely has it been so well grounded and developed. Right before the start of sixth grade, Annabelle returns from sleepaway camp to move into the house that her single mother and her mother's sensitive if geeky boyfriend have just set up. Their surprise gift of a puppy, Annabelle realizes, is their attempt to "bribe" her into liking the new arrangements, but she loves the puppy anyway. School, on the other hand, is a battleground, especially because it's Annabelle's first time going coed. Margolis gets the details of middle-school boy behavior just right: the boy sitting behind Annabelle torments her with endless kicking; her two lab partners hog the equipment; others play keep-away with her homework. When Annabelle does connect the dots between puppy training and communicating with boys, her breakthroughs come across as genuine. The story lines--melded household, moving, boys as dogs--coalesce naturally, giving girl readers a thoughtful story along with, just possibly, some substantive boy advice. Ages 8-12. (Sept.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.