cover image Who Was That Masked Man Anyway

Who Was That Masked Man Anyway

Avi. Scholastic, $16.95 (170pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05457-4

As expertly crafted as Avi's Nothing But the Truth , this lightning-paced satire set during WW II shows how Franklin D. Wattleson, a superhero fan, creates his own brand of adventure when taking on the identity of ``Chet Barker, master spy.'' With best friend Mario, 12-year-old Frankie stirs up considerable excitement and trouble carrying out his plot to dispose of evil scientist Mr. Swerdlow (the Wattlesons' upstairs boarder) and marrying off brother Tom (a wounded vet) to sixth-grade teacher Miss Gomez (whose fiance was recently killed in action). Ignoring continual reprimands for neglecting homework and snooping into other people's affairs, Frankie manages to complete his mission successfully. Nostalgia buffs in particular will be drawn to this book, which contains segments of old-time radio serials and commercials. Besides providing much hilarity, this ingeniously structured montage of broadcasts, fantasies and conversations exposes many ironies of heroism and war. Ages 9-up. (Sept.)