GARY PAULSEN is the distinguished author of many critically acclaimed books for young people, His most recent books are Mudshark, Lawn Boy, Molly McGinty Has a Really Good Day, The Time Hackers, and The Amazing Life of Birds (The Twenty Day Puberty Journal of Duane Homer Leech).
Fourteen-year-old Harold Schernoff has a scientific theory for just about everything-from skiing and playing sports to illegally purchasing a car. With close friend Gary, Harold navigates the social minefield that is high school and tests his theories (many of which often end in disaster) in Paulsen's novel about friendship. MacLeod Andrews delivers a pitch-perfect performance in this audio edition. The novel is told from Gary's point of view, and Andrews narrates in a high, nasal voice, sounding like a boy on the verge of puberty, but regulating his pitch so that his reading never becomes cloying. Andrews also excels at other characters' voices, deftly differentiates between Gary and Harold, and creates such a natural rapport between the two boys that listeners may forget he's the only narrator. Ages 10-up. A Yearling paperback. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Gr 4-8-Paulsen's charming novel (Delacorte, 1997) is full of schemes thought up by the first-person narrator's friend, Harold Schernoff. Harold has a high IQ and uses his scientific genius to discover ways to get back at bullying football players and to find all the golf balls that fall in the river since they get a dime for every one found. However, the results of the boy's plans often go awry. The car the two 14-year-olds purchase, sure to raise their popularity, doesn't run long enough to get them back to town. The skis they borrow to be part of the "in crowd" don't quite follow the trajectory Harold expects. Listeners will be cheering for the boys when the neighborhood tyrant gets what's coming to him. MacLeod Andrews narrates with a youthful cadence during the action scenes and a wistful nostalgia in the sections where the writer looks back on a hard-earned, if not misspent youth. He does an excellent job of giving the boys distinctive voices, especially Harold's condescending whine. While the anecdotes related are always amusing, some period content may be unfamiliar to today's kids. However, all listeners will relate to the themes of bullying and pining after the popular girl.-C. A. Fehmel , St. Louis County Library, MO (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.