cover image The Girl Who Changed the World

The Girl Who Changed the World

Delia Ephron. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $15 (148pp) ISBN 978-0-395-66139-0

The brand of ludicrousness found in this slight volume will especially appeal to disgruntled youngsters who have endured any form of torture from older siblings. For Violet Sparks, the last straw comes during a piano recital when older brother Simon squashes a ``humongous, hairy'' fly on her head. After carefully plotting revenge tactics, Violet gathers cohorts Melissa (repeatedly demeaned by sister Suzette), Artie (overshadowed by his music-prodigy brother) and six-year-old Davy, whose ego has been slowly deflated by prissy Margaret. Together the band of ``youngers'' (which includes a few harassed pets) carries out a scheme that inevitably puts the ``olders'' in their place. It is only at the final moment before victory, when Violet and her troop have a chance to do in her brother, that the pint-sized avenger has a change of heart. Not to be taken too seriously, with its cartoonish characterizations and slightly morbid slapstick humor, this spoof offers lots of yuks but is not likely to be read twice. Ages 8-11. (Oct.)