From the acclaimed author of The Lemonade War comes a new book starring two smart girls determined to liven up their town—one epic prank at a time.
Odawahaka has always been too small for Maggie’s big scientific ideas. Between her stuck-in-a-rut mom, her grumpy grandpop, and the lifetime supply of sludgy soda in the fridge, it’s hard for Maggie to imagine a change.
But when Lena moves in with her creative spirit and outrageous perspective, middle school takes off with a bang. Someone starts pulling the kind of pranks that send their rule-loving new principal into an uproar—complete with purple puffs of smoke, parachuting mice, and a scavenger hunt that leads to secret passageways. Suddenly the same-old football games, election for class president, and embarrassing stories feel almost exciting. And for the first time in her life, Maggie begins to wonder if there might be more to Odawahaka than she ever saw coming!
Humorous, smart, and full of small-town heart, Nothing But Trouble will have mischief-loving readers caught up in the cleverness and determination of two girls who can’t be held down.
Part of Series: Nothing but Trouble (Book 1)
Potentially Sensitive Areas: None
Booklist (October 15, 2016 (Vol. 113, No. 4))
Grades 5-7. Two things happen to Maggie the morning seventh grade begins. First, she meets Lena, the new girl who will become her best friend. Next, a practical joke fills the middle-school hallway with happy chaos: tennis balls bouncing, toy cars zooming, helium balloons floating upward, and a toy mouse parachuting down. Soon, “The mouse is in the house!” becomes the students’ rallying cry as the autocratic new principal tries and fails to stop an escalating series of hacks. That’s hack in the MIT sense: to carry out elaborate, creative pranks with precision, secrecy, and flair. Best known for The Lemonade War (2007) and its sequels, Davies brings the same strong sense of narrative along with a well-drawn, small-town setting and a number of believable, sometimes quirky characters. Throughout the book, Lena’s artistic outlook complements Maggie’s engineering bent. An appended activities section includes such related features as “Why Maggie Loves Sir Isaac Newton” and “How to Make a Dada Poem.” A flying start for a new series.
Kirkus Reviews (August 15, 2016)
Sixth-grader and budding engineer Maggie Gallagher occupies her fertile mind and connects to the father who survives only in her head by planning and executing elaborate pranks at school. Maggie’s father pulled notorious pranks while in college at MIT. He died before she was born, leaving only a box of notebooks describing his hacks in meticulous detail. She re-creates them at Odawahaka Middle School using money earned from secretly selling her grandfather’s vintage car parts on the internet. Maggie dreams of nothing more than leaving her dysfunctional family and getting out of her dying small town until dadaist new student Lena Polachev chooses her as a friend. Together they become an unstoppable force against the school’s new dictatorial principal. The story is full of stylish and satisfying pranks, some chronicled step by step and others simply mentioned. Toy cars spill out of lockers, ping-pong balls rain down on the principal, school banners are reworded. Where Wildcats ruled, the Mouse is in the house, and what was simply funny becomes a revolution bringing much-needed change to a depressed, evidently all-white community. A vividly realized present-day setting, distinctive, believable characters, subversive humor, and a satisfying ending give this title solid kid appeal. With plenty of threads to hang sequels from, this series opener will make readers roar for more. (activities) (Fiction. 10-13)
About the Author
Jacqueline Davies is the talented author of both novels and picture books. Jacqueline lives in Needham, Massachusetts, with her three children. She enjoys reading, travel, swimming, going to the movies, and hanging out with her friends.
Her website is www.jacquelinedavies.net.
Around the Web
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