Friday, December 14, 2012

Pickle: The (Formerly) Anonymous Prank Club of Fountain Point Middle School by Kim Baker, illustrated by Tim Probert

If the schools in town suddenly have a outbreak of silly pranks, you won't have to look far for the cause -- that'll be proof that someone has read Pickle:  The (Formerly) Anonymous Prank Club of Fountain Point Middle School.  Luckily, this good-natured book emphasizes light-hearted pranks that are not cruel or mean-spirited; they are done for the sheer fun of it. 

Ben, the founder of the group, performs his first prank on a whim.  I mean, if you suddenly found yourself the proud owner of a whole ball pit's worth of plastic balls, wouldn't you have to think of something cool to do with them?  After the success of that first prank, the momentum builds, and Ben realizes he needs a group of friends to help him continue the pranks.  And what better cover story for the group is there than a boring sounding name like the League of Pickle Makers?  The book describes their exploits as they each try to come up with a prank, so they can become full members of the group.  But what should Ben do about his best friend Hector?  It doesn't seem right to leave Hector out of the group, but Hector's grandmother is the principal, and Hector is not great at keeping secrets. 

This is a fun, easy read that is sure to please.  Kids will enjoy the escapades of the group as they plan and carry out their pranks, with varying degrees of success, but they'll also appreciate the description of the shifting dynamics of friendship in middle school.  Adults will appreciate that the kids, while certainly mischievious, are basically good kids, who still get along with their families and try to do well at school.  But that doesn't mean that adults are allowed to look at the super-secret website of the Pickle club.  After all, once you're over twenty your sense of humor starts leaking out, and soon you're just boring.

M. Adams

No comments: