cover image Double Trouble in Walla Walla

Double Trouble in Walla Walla

Andrew Clements, Andrew Clements. Millbrook Press, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7613-0275-9

In this breathlessly verbose tale, a rash of compound nonsense words infects an elementary school. Student Lulu exhibits the first symptom when she complains, ""My homework is all higgledy-piggledy. Last night it was in tip-top shape, but now it's a big mish-mash."" Her teacher scolds, ""Lulu, stop that flip-flop chitter-chatter or you'll be in double trouble!"" and drags her off to the principal's office. The principal hasn't a clue (""holy-moly!""), and the nurse fears an epidemic (""If we're not very, very hush-hush about this, there could be a mongo-mongo brain-drain and everybody in Walla Walla will be talking like a herky-jerky ding-a-ling!""). Clements breaks the verbal fever with a brainstorm of rhythmic silliness, from ""Hee-haw, tweet-tweet, chirp-chirp, cheep-cheep"" to ""boogie-woogie bow-wow, super-duper pooper-scooper!"" As the tension escalates, Murdocca's (The Monsters' Test) pictures grow more cacophonous. Text tilts sideways and upside-down as the caricaturish people ricochet around the nurse's office; multicolored words, variably sized typefaces and voice bubbles crowd the air. At last, calm is restored--or is it? The teacher bids farewell on the final page saying, ""Ta-ta, Lulu."" Children with a fondness for wordplay may delight in this dizzying romp, but others may find the rhyme and onomatopoeia a disappointing substitute for plot. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)