cover image Just Plain Al

Just Plain Al

Constance C. Greene. Viking Children's Books, $12.95 (134pp) ISBN 978-0-670-81250-9

The ever-popular Al is back, in the fifth of Greene's series about Al and her best friend. With the same snappy dialogue and typical teenage humorone of Al's current sayings is ""Have a weird day''Al anticipates her 14th birthday as a maturation milestone. In honor of approaching womanhood, Al's decided she's tired of being ``just plain Al'' and she and her friends spend the summer trying to decide her new name. ``Alex'' is snobby, ``Zandra'' phony, and then Al discovers Mother Zandi, the fortune-teller. Threaded through the good humor is the kids' discovery of homeless people, and Al's determination to find something to do for them, which culminates in the wacky appearance of Mother Zandi at a nursing home. This lighthearted and breezy story is sure to keep Al's fans hungry for more. (10-14)