cover image Monday Morning Blitz

Monday Morning Blitz

Elise Leonard, . . Aladdin, $5.99 (132pp) ISBN 978-1-4169-3464-6

Launching the Al's World series, this madcap tale introduces an unlikely—and rather reluctant—hero. Al, who boasts a “firm C-minus average” and futilely attempts to hide the “zit the size of Mount Fuji” on his forehead, is waiting for the school bus with his amusingly air-headed friend, Keith, when a man dashes by and knocks him down. At school, Al discovers a flash drive in his jacket and concludes that the fellow (who, unbeknownst to Al, is a government agent) slipped it into his pocket when they collided. When Al asks a computer-whiz classmate to decode the encrypted information on the drive, the boy refuses to divulge what he discovers (“You don't want to know, man”). As it turns out, the drive contains schematics for every U.S. waterway, and terrorists are determined to get their hands on it. In a dark twist that Leonard's slapstick style manages to leaven, terrorists run Al's school bus off the road, after which the agent arrives in a helicopter and a showdown ensues. Amidst the chaos, Al, in a fittingly frivolous turn, hides the flash drive by sticking it in an olive loaf in a deli, emerging as a hero for “twenty seconds,” in his words. Studded with throwaway gags and goofy repartee between Al and Keith, this will appeal to boys who like their fiction with a silly streak. Al gets a shot at another 20 seconds of fame in Killer Lunch Lady , due out this month too. Ages 10-14. (June)