Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Leon and the Spitting Image

Leon and the Spitting Image

Fall 2003 Fiction
Ages: 9 - 11 yrs.
Author: Allen Kurzweil
Illustrator: Bret Bertholf
ISBN: 0060539305
Hardcover Price: $15.99
Leon doesn't quite yet know that he will survive the fourth grade. His classmates, he himself, and we the readers are even less certain about his surviving the new teacher, Miss Hagemeyer. She is a stalagetite in a world of stalagmites. When that prickly skinny bones person goes up, we go down. Her idiosyncrasies are chilling. She connects the clasps on her long dark coat to eyeballs; as soon as you get used to one pair she changes them for a differently colored pair of eyes. Her ears hear everything, even when she isn't there. Her stockings are, according to the author, the color of cooked liver. Her interest in and knowledge of medieval times is as much fun as the Inquisition.

A face-off with Miss Hagemeyer is a precursor to an extensive stay in a locked ward without padded walls. According to certain fourth graders especially Lily Matisse, PW, even Lumpkin the Pumpkin and this reviewer's great group of ten G&Ts (gifted and talented), her grandchildren and their friends and relations, Leon is a good read.

Diana Huss Green   ©2003 Parents' Choice

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