April Fools! Pearl and Wagner One Funny Day by Kate McMullan

Cindy: My teenage daughters think April Fool’s Day is hilarious when I get caught by one of their jokes. And, I never seem to learn, although I now check the sprayer on the kitchen faucet to be sure it hasn’t been rubber banded into the “on” position before I try to fill my coffee maker. I’m sure that by the time you read this, I’ll have fallen for something else. So, I can relate to Wagner, who seems to have missed the memo about this holiday and is paying for it all morning at school. His day goes from bad to worse as he is subjected to his classmate’s (and his teacher’s) gentle pranks. This Easy-to-Read title, Pearl and Wagner One Funny Day (Dial, 2009) is divided into three separate stories, and in the final one, Wagner pulls off a prank of his own and feels much better (hmmmm…my daughters had better watch OUT!) After reading this installment, I had to go back to find the first two: Pearl and Wagner Two Good Friends and Pearl and Wagner Three Secrets. We’re sorry if we’re boring some of you who have regularly been reading these younger titles, but we are having a great time expanding our middle school and teen reading horizons back into the early elementary years. R. W. Alley’s expressive and charming illustrations show a familiarity with the classroom setting and emotions, delightfully bringing these characters to life.

Lynn: I have an April 2nd birthday and a husband who thinks he is a comedian so I really identify with Wagner who is ready to move on past April Fools Day by mid morning. I am so impressed with these beguiling little books that beside being easy to read are also full of kid-centric issues ideally suited to the age of the readers. McMullan addresses secrets, friendship, and fears with a gentle touch and just the right amount of humor. If all of this isn’t enough, there’s one more feature sure to delight young readers. Each of the three books begins with Wagner telling Pearl a corny joke that is sure to make the rounds at recess. Now – if I can just remember some of these April Fools jokes, I might be able to strike first!

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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