Markus + Diana

Klaus Hagerup, Author, Tara Chace, Translator , trans. by Tara Chace. Front Street $17.95 (188p) ISBN 978-1-932425-59-8

This tale from a Norwegian author featuring anxiety-ridden Markus Simonsen shows how the "shortest, scrawniest boy in class 6B" manages to finagle a date with a gorgeous TV actress. Markus may be short of stature, but his imagination is huge. Besides fabricating outlandish adventure stories, he also writes letters to celebrities, making up lies about himself in hopes of gaining an autograph. ("I am sitting in my wheelchair, blinded by tears," he writes to a famous author.") He outdoes himself when he writes to soap-opera star Diana Mortensen, claiming to be a Norwegian mountain-climbing millionaire. Not only does Diana send a letter back, she asks to meet him in person. Although pulling off an encounter seems impossible at first, Markus, with the help of his overly confident sidekick, Sigmund, comes up with a scheme that just might work. Opposites in almost every way, Markus and Sigmund make a hilarious duo. Their conversations, predicaments and dilemmas make for some priceless moments as they bone up on etiquette in order to pass as millionaires; then invite two female classmates to an expensive French restaurant to practice their skills. The author's sense of comedic timing and vibrant depiction of characters prove effective in conveying the lighter side of middle-school angst. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 11/13/2006
Release date: 10/01/2006
Genre: Children's
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