cover image Maxie, Rosie, and Earl - Partn

Maxie, Rosie, and Earl - Partn

Barbara Park, Barracca. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $13 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-679-80212-9

Maxie Zuckerman, age 10, is resented by his classmates for receiving top grades, and Maxie resents their resentment. Earl Wilber, new in town, is a lonely, nervous fourth-grader. In another classroom is a habitual tattler, Rosie Swanson. The three meet outside the principal's office (Maxie's guilty of cutting a hole in a bully's T-shirt, Earl is there for refusing to read aloud and Rosie's tattling is rattling her teacher) and embark on an escapade, thus forging a friendship that injects each with a dose of self-confidence. It's evident why these youngsters dislike school (their unreasonable teachers aren't much help), but they get away with some deceptive behavior. A promising premise is almost totally sidetracked here by a threadbare plot, trite dialogue--the author feels that a brief glossary is needed to explain the obscure vocabulary that comprises Maxie's insults--and less-than-appealing characters. While a subtle theme exists about the joys of friendship, any other pluses in this book are difficult to find. Ages 8 - 12. (Apr.)