cover image Pickle: The (Formerly) Anonymous Prank Club of Fountain Point Middle School

Pickle: The (Formerly) Anonymous Prank Club of Fountain Point Middle School

Kim Baker, illus. by Tim Probert. Roaring Brook, $15.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-59643-765-4

Baker’s debut is a lighthearted romp with cross-gender appeal. When good- natured sixth-grader Ben Diaz stumbles on the chance to pull a perfect, anonymous prank at school (the balls from a pizzeria’s ball pit are involved), the satisfaction—and his schoolmates’ reaction—inspire him to seek out bigger opportunities. He recruits two classmates for his “secret prank task team”; they are soon joined by two more, creating a multicultural and personable crew of mischief-makers. Together they go undercover as the most boring official school club they can think of, the League of Pickle Makers. Soon the school fountain is overflowing with soap bubbles, and kids in soaked clothing are emerging from the restrooms (where the sinks have been wrapped in plastic), thanks to Ben’s Prank and Trick Association (the other P.T.A.), which must also keep up its pickle-making cover for an upcoming Pioneer Fair. Fair warning: the practical jokes are troublesome and annoying to authority figures but harmless and hilarious to kids, and thus may prove inspirational to like-minded readers. Ages 8–12. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger Inc. (Sept.)