cover image The Good, the Bad, and the Goofy

The Good, the Bad, and the Goofy

Jon Scieszka. Viking Children's Books, $15.99 (80pp) ISBN 978-0-670-84380-0

The third field trip of the Time Warp Trio lands them in the heart of the Old West. Far from enjoying the pulsating adventure of TV westerns, however, Fred, Sam and Joe suffer the dust-choked, mosquito-infested monotony of a cattle drive--until the Indians show up. Once again the threesome utilizes a bit of 20th-century cunning to save their hides and outwit their opponents. Scieszka's zany sarcasm sets a lively pace and offers up subtle parodies of popular western stereotypes. (This time, the Indians get to be the good guys.) Despite some clever wordplay, the story lacks the inventiveness and high-pitched excitement of the trio's previous adventures. Nonetheless, these collaborators' fans will no doubt gobble up this latest time-travel installment as they eagerly await the next one. Smith's black-and-white illustrations possess his characteristic brio--a double-page spread of a cattle stampede is particularly flashy. Ages 8-12. (May)