cover image Hunter Moran Saves the Universe

Hunter Moran Saves the Universe

Patricia Reilly Giff. Holiday House, $16.95 (128p) ISBN 978-0-8234-1949-4

To the ranks of Hilary McKay's irrepressible Cassons and Barbara Robinson's incorrigible Herdmans, Giff (the Zigzag Kids series) adds the Moran clan, who fall into both categories. At the center of the Moran family maelstrom are fifth-grade twins Hunter and Zack, the former narrating this rapid-fire story. The action %E2%80%A8revolves around Hunter's misreading of clues that, to him, expose a neighbor's plot to blow up their town. The twins' attempts to prevent this catastrophe land them in some dicey spots: stranded on a church roof, discovered in the suspect's yard in the middle of the night trying to unearth a buried "bomb," and trapped inside the local monument%E2%80%94a large soup kettle forged by the town's founder. Though Giff's plot is over-the-top, her characterizations give this comedy depth and warmth. Other iconoclastic family members include Steadman, a wise preschooler with a knack for turning up in unexpected places; William, who paints murals throughout the house; and bossy oldest sister, Linny. With Giff as skilled accomplice, the Morans provide delightful entertainment. Ages 8%E2%80%9312. Agent: George Nicholson, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Sept.)