Friday, January 29, 2016

Winter Reading 2016 Pilfer Academy


Imagine a boy something like Kevin from the "Home Alone" movies. This boy you are picturing in your mind is George. He has brothers and sisters, but George always seems to be the one getting into trouble. If someone is reading his sister's diary, it's George. If someone is borrowing his brother's stuff and not giving it back, it's George. If someone is taking other people's pocket change without asking, it's George. So it really shouldn't come as a surprise that George is chosen to be a student at a school for thieves. The faculty of the school have been watching him for a while and when they see their chance, they kidnap him and carry him off. And George actually seems to be good at all the classes in trickery, manipulation, cracking safes, or creating disguises. But he also realizes that he misses his family and wonders if he will ever find his way back home. Can a kid who's always being bad actually be a good guy?

The descriptions of the school make it sound like a dream come true for most kids - eating whatever you want, wearing only the nicest clothes, sleeping in luxurious beds, learning how to build traps and play tricks on people. And the teachers are crazy. There is Strongarm, who stares into the sun until she can't see and then rubs sunscreen into her eyes to fix them (Ouch!) And Ballyrag, who can't say anything right. He calls New Hampshire "New Hampster" and transplanted comes out "splanstranted" when he says it. And the head of the school is just as ridiculous. The other students are a mix like you usually see in a school; some are nice to George while others pick on him because he is new. The lessons and tests they have in class will make you laugh out loud and there is plenty of action to keep you turning the pages. And when you reach the end and hear characters vowing revenge upon George, you will be hoping for a sequel to find out what happens next.

A great middle grade novel for fans of school stories and those who appreciate practical jokes and mayhem.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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