THE LAST BURP OF MAC McGERP
Pam Smallcomb, . . Bloomsbury, $15.95 (150pp) ISBN 978-1-58234-868-1
Smallcomb's rollicking farce introduces comical fifth-grader Mac McGerp, a
trophy-winning burper. Offering humorous, graphic descriptions of these larger-than-life emissions, likable narrator Lido makes it quite clear that his best friend's feats in this arena are unrivaled: as a soccer goalie, Mac stops balls with the force of his burps and one even creates a tornado that blasts the principal's car up into the air. But Mac's days as a champion burper appear to be numbered when the ironically named Mrs. Goodbody, who looks like a "frozen trout," arrives as the new school principal and delivers the edict that there will be no more burping—or field trips or sports ("Our liability is too high") or extracurricular activities. This is a woman to be reckoned with: rumor has it that kids in her previous schools had disappeared, then reappeared in the cafeteria food. There's never any doubt that Mac will triumph over this evil, but the well-calculated steps he takes en route are quite entertaining. Given Mac's charisma and his special effects–rich burp sequences, the tale's occasionally wry passages (Mac and Lido talk matter-of-factly about the science projects their parents have been working on for them), Mrs. Goodbody's Cruella De Vil–worthy behavior and barbs and a tidy ending, this is easily envisioned as lightweight, kid-pleasing film fare. Readers in search of laughs will enjoy turning these pages. Ages 7-10.
Reviewed on: 10/06/2003