Avi's many acclaimed books for young readers include the Newbery Medal-winning Crispin: The Cross of Lead and the Newbery Honor books Nothing But the Truth: A Documentary Novel and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle as well as The Fighting Ground, Poppy, and The Secret School. He lives in Colorado.
Gr 6-8-These stories vary in tone from grimly humorous to quietly ironic to stately formal. In "The Shoemaker and Old Scratch," a tightfisted tradesman tries to outwit the Devil, but discovers too late that Satan has many guises. In "Bored Tom," a boy wants excitement, so when a talking cat offers to switch places, he agrees-but then the cat refuses to switch back. "Curious" combines sports and science fiction. Jeff wants to know more about the Alien, the mascot for the local baseball team-particularly since no one seems to like it or to know how it was employed in the first place. "Babette the Beautiful" and "Simon" incorporate folkloric elements. After her queen mother asked a wise woman for a flawless baby, Babette is born invisible. Mirrors are banished from the land, and no one will admit that the princess can't be seen. Greedy, selfish Simon hunts the fabulous Queen-of-All-the-Birds and finds himself changed into a half-bird monster until he learns compassion. These stories don't have conventional "happy endings," but the conclusions fit the individual styles-sly, mystical, or gruesome, as appropriate. Fantasy fans with a taste for the unusual will enjoy this challenging collection.-Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"Fantasy fans with a taste for the unusual will enjoy this challenging collection."--School Library Journal"Spooky fun."--The Bulletin --