cover image The Dunderheads Behind Bars

The Dunderheads Behind Bars

Paul Fleischman, illus. by David Roberts. Candlewick, $16.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-7636-4543-4

One of the Dunderheads’ own has been framed for robbery in this smart sequel to 2009’s The Dunderheads, which has all of the dark, dry comedy of its predecessor. In this Hollywood-inflected outing, the gang of uniquely talented children gets cast as extras in a movie that’s filming in town (so does their nemesis, the brutish Miss Breakbone, who makes a horrifying cameo in a dress resembling Marilyn Monroe’s in The Seven Year Itch). But when Spider, a skilled climber, is arrested for allegedly stealing a necklace, it takes the entire group’s efforts to clear his name. Fleischman and Roberts work in perfect synch to deliver a noirish mystery that’s as delightfully eccentric as the kids themselves. Ages 6–10. (Apr.)