cover image Nelson Malone Meets the Man from Mushnut

Nelson Malone Meets the Man from Mushnut

Louise Hawes, Hawes. Dutton Books, $10.95 (128pp) ISBN 978-0-525-67181-7

Hawes's first book is a collection of six blithe comedies, illustrated by Dodson's energetic, tuned-in drawings. Each story involves Nelson Malone, 11, in a stupendous adventure. ""Samantha,'' for one, concerns magic that saves the boy from the embarrassment of taking his only pet, a hermit crab, to compete with classmates' glamorous animals at the school's Pet Day. A sympathetic neighbor, studying witchcraft, lends Nelson her huge snake Samantha and ``ssssshe's'' a ``sssensssation,'' causing chaos but winning the prize. In ``The Man From Mush-Nut,'' Nelson's appetite for a candy bar brings him an offer to advertise Mush-Nuts on TV. Although his career is cut short, the experience pays off with a neat, unexpected bonus. Crackling dialogue and the author's affinity with young people add spirit to doings. Readers will hope to find more titles by Hawes after this debut. (9-11)