The Capybara Conspiracy

Erica S. Perl. Knopf, $16.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-399-55171-0

Olive Henry takes matters into her own hands after her principal goes too far in this entertaining school drama from Perl (Aces Wild), written as the script of a play. Seventh graders Olive and Reynaldo are fed up: while the drama club is relegated to meeting in the basement, anything sports-related gets top-notch treatment at school. Furthermore, mascot Cappy, a live capybara, is credited with the school’s sports winning streak and treated with more respect than students pursuing academic extracurriculars. When Principal Higgley gives the auditorium to the Ultimate Frisbee Club for practice, Olive is determined to “do something radical”—kidnap Cappy—because “every kid here who can’t catch or throw or look cute in a uniform is being persecuted.” When some unlikely students, including ex-baseball player Pablo and animal activist Brie, join their scheme, Olive’s plan gets hijacked. Staged over three acts, Perl’s novel zips along thanks to all the back-and-forth dialogue, and is well suited to be performed. An unexpected ending and comprehensive notes on how to stage the play round out an amusing tale. Ages 10–up. [em]Agent: Carrie Hannigan, Hannigan Salky Getzler. (Oct.) [/em]