Monday, January 2, 2012

The Fourth Stall

Booklist (February 15, 2011 (Vol. 107, No. 12))

Grades 4-7. Sixth-graders Mac and Vince have been running an advice and assistance service for fellow grade-school students since they were in kindergarten. Mac is a problem solver, Vince is a whiz at keeping track of the money and favors they earn, and both boys are avid Chicago Cubs fans. Their “office” is located in an underused school bathroom, hence this first novel’s title. The business takes a beating—and then so does the boys’ friendship—when an older kid applies muscle to the threats he has made to grade-schoolers who owe gambling debts. Rylander has created a cast of memorable and varied characters, replete with emotional as well as social lives. Mac narrates the convoluted tale with the arch flatness of a 1940s satire of the noir detective genre, so swallowing even the more preposterous coincidences is easy for the sake of the story’s fun. An excellent boy book that would do well in a father-son book discussion.

1 comment:

Ms. Yingling said...

My students LOVE this title. I was a bit sheepish when one of them pointed out the fact that the script on the cover was meant to look like the posters for the Godfather movies. Knew that! Great blog!