cover image Marvin and the Mean Words

Marvin and the Mean Words

Suzy Kline / Author, Blanche Sims / Illustrator Putnam Publish

Marvin Higgins, the classroom bully from Kline's Mary Marony books, gets his own series now, beginning with this agreeable novel. Here, sharp-tongued Marvin learns that ""mean words"" really can hurt when he overhears his teacher talking about a bad-tempered hockey player whose last name is Marvin and thinks she is referring to him. Like Ramona Quimby's misunderstanding with her teacher, Marvin's problem with Mrs. Bird is satisfactorily resolved, but not before a string of minor humiliations. The daily reprimands Marvin receives for innocent mistakes--dropping the lid of an ant farm, borrowing Mrs. Bird's fish floss for an art project--are hard enough to endure, but not nearly as embarrassing as having his hard-of-hearing grandmother chaperone a field trip to the Norman Rockwell Museum in nearby Stockbridge, Mass. Disaster turns into good fortune, however, when Nonna's makeshift ear phone, a wrapping-paper tube, provides entertainment on the school bus during an unforeseen delay. The easy-to-read text neatly characterizes Marvin as a tough-skinned second grader with a tender ego. Once again, Kline proves she is well versed in her audience's tastes, concerns and perceptions. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 6-9. (Apr.)