Friday, May 4, 2012

The Fourth Stall

The Fourth Stall
Chris Rylander
Walden Pond Press, 2011
$15.99, Hardcover
April 7th, 2012

Genre: Mystery
Age: 8+
Description: If you need something Mac is the person who can get it for you. Need a hall pass? You got it. Need protection from bullies? Mac’s got you covered. Unfortunately when young Fred approaches Mac he finds his business in trouble when he takes on the case to protect Fred from the legendary (is he even real?) Staples—a bully so bad he’s supposedly be around for years, no one knows his real name, and no one has ever seen him. Mac and his best friend and financial manager, Vince, have been saving all of their money from solving problems to purchase Cubs tickets if they ever make the World Series. This year looks like the year that that might happen for the first time in forever. However, in order to protect Fred they have to dip into their cash flow when they hire the services of the nine strongest and scariest bullies in the school. Soon Staples starts making threats and when Mac’s money is stolen from his house he begins to suspect that there is a snitch in his own inner circle. Can Mac figure out who it is and how to stop Staples?
Opinion: Adults and movie fans will love the play on The Godfather especially with the cover—the red ‘o’ and the roll of toilet paper (since Mac’s office is in the fourth stall of an unused restroom on campus). This novel overall was entertaining. However at 300 pages it might have gone on a bit too long as it lagged at some times. The Godfather-like elements also might go way over the heads of most young readers, especially this idea of a sixth grader calling a “hit” on the main accomplice of Staples—a boy known as The Collector who beats kids up if they don’t pay up. However, any kids who like mysteries and crime plots will probably get a kick out of the story. The end refers to a girl (darn girls always cause problems) but that is a story for another time . . . which in fact is the story of the sequel—The Fourth Stall, Part II.

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