Sunday, May 21, 2006

Review: Strange Happenings

Are you into fun, slightly creepy reads? Then I greatly recommend Avi's latest offering, Strange Happenings.

Strange Happenings is a collection of five short stories, all with a touch of magic. The stories reminded me of O'Henry with a touch of King. All were neatly written, spare tales of the "be careful what you wish for" variety.

In the first story, "Bored Tom," a little boy complains he's bored and he'd rather hang about and sleep like his cat, Charley. Charley has a solution: Why don't they switch places? With the help of the local magician cat, they do. Of course, all goes well at first, but it's not so easy for Tom to get his old "boring life" back.

My favorite story, "Curious," takes an imaginative approach to team mascots (you know, like that darn chicken?) and what happens when a little boy wants to know who the mascot really is. Because, you see, the mascot is quite unlike anyone else in his medium-sized, midwestern town. He makes fun of people, hugs the pretty girls and kicks the boys, and is generally rude. Brilliant, with a delicious ending.

Strange Happenings is aimed at the middle-grade market and I think it would make a great read-aloud for that group as well. Strange Happenings is perfect for sleepovers, campouts, or for dark, spooky evenings.

Raab Associates sent this one my way and I read it in one sitting.