The Fourth Stall

Chris Rylander, HarperCollins/Walden Pond, $15.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-199496-8
Debut novelist Rylander mines a substantial amount of humor and heart from this combination hard-boiled crime novel and middle-grade character piece. Sixth-graders Mac (the problem solver) and Vince (the financial adviser) have long run a fix-it business, helping kids get everything from loans to protection from bullies. When a third-grader named Fred claims he's being threatened by legendary dropout and crime boss Staples, Mac and his associates (including a group of oddball bullies that range from a third-grade "biter" to a skilled hacker) are drawn into a series of encounters that could lead to them getting beat up and losing the money they've made over the years. And since their beloved Cubs are about to make the World Series, losing that money means not being able to buy tickets. Rylander throws in some class issues—Mac and Vince met when living in a trailer park, but Mac's family now lives in a nicer house—and balances them with silliness (the title refers to the unused bathroom stall in which Mac's office is located). The resulting mix is a light and enjoyable caper. Ages 8–12. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/06/2010
Release date: 02/01/2011
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-06-206962-7
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-208380-7
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-61587-082-0
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-4169-7923-4
Ebook - 978-1-4169-8723-9
Paperback - 314 pages - 978-0-06-199497-5
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-203649-0
Other - 978-0-06-222148-3
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-4169-7924-1
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