Cover image for Story time
Title:
Story time
Author:
Bloor, Edward, 1950-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Orlando : Harcourt, 2004.
Physical Description:
424 pages ; 22 cm
Summary:
George and Kate are promised the best education but instead face obsessed administrators, endless tests, and evil spirits when they are transferred to Whittaker Magnet School.
Language:
English
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG+ 4.8 12.0 77522.
ISBN:
9780152046705
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

George and Kate are promised the finest education when they transfer to the Whittaker Magnet School. It boasts the highest test scores in the nation.

But at what price? Their new school's curriculum is focused on beating standardized tests; classes are held in dreary, windowless rooms; and students are force-fed noxious protein shakes to improve their test performance. Worst of all, there seems to be a demon loose in the building, one whose murderous work has only just begun.

A bitterly funny satire about the state of modern education from the author of Tangerine and Crusader.


Author Notes

EDWARD BLOOR is the author many acclaimed novels, including Tangerine, Crusader, and Story Time . A former high school teacher, he lives near Orlando, Florida. Visit him online at www.edwardbloor.net ."


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 5-8. Readers who think they know what to expect from the author of Tangerine (1997) and Crusader (1999)--wrenching family drama played out in grim suburban settings--will need to recalibrate after finishing this novel. It's the story of brainy sixth-grader George and sassy eighth-graderate, who find themselves in a magnet school housed in a purportedly haunted library. Both kids grow to hate taking standardized tests all day alongside green-tinged Mushroom Children, and coping with the exaggeratedly amoral cadre of adults who run the place. There doesn't seem to be much hope of liberation, though, until a series of demonic possessions and grisly deaths delivers retribution toate and George's oppressors, putting the kids on the trail of a creepy paranormal mystery spanning generations. Part spine tingler, part breezy gothic, and part sly satire (the school espouses a No High-Scoring Child Left Behind policy), it's an audaciously eclectic mix. The proliferating story strands--including some deus ex machina intervention from the White House--are not always satisfactorily woven, but the irreverence and offbeat horror will still find an admiring audience. --Jennifer Mattson Copyright 2004 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

In the sprawling, satirical tradition of his Tangerine and Crusader, Bloor delivers a no-holds-barred, deeply subversive tale about modern education. George and Kate, uncle and niece (although Kate is by two years the elder), are invited to become students at the Whittaker Magnet School, located in an old library building rumored to be haunted. The headmaster proudly expounds on "test-based curriculum," which in practical terms means that standardized test scores are all the school cares about ("The higher the test scores, the more people who want to move into your school district. The more people who move into your school district, the higher the tax revenues," the headmaster's son declaims). Bloor's fans will expect the deliciously dizzying proliferation of story lines, but the mix of genres may be uneasier here than in his previous books. Ghosts or demons begin to emerge from the antiquarian book collection hidden upstairs; the headmaster's wife subjugates Kate and shamelessly favors her own children; and Kate witnesses what appear to be murders-and locates the corpses just as the First Lady arrives for a historic visit to the school. There are characters with deep dark secrets, scenes of spectacular destruction (too absurd to be gruesome) and extravagant oddities. Readers may be relieved that Bloor lets the final explosions detonate off the page; the book is great, smart fun but, like a race-car driver making hairpin turns, comes close to losing control. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-9-A book filled with social satire, black comedy, fantasy/humor, and extreme situations. Eighth-grader Katie and her brilliant Uncle George, a sixth grader, find themselves mysteriously redistricted and assigned to Whittaker Magnet School, which focuses entirely on excellence in standardized testing. The regimented kids are taught by regimented teachers in the basement of a haunted old library building and the school is run by a strange family obsessed with its own achievements, whether they are earned or not. All sorts of things are amiss at Whittaker, where elitism reigns; where dramatic deaths are hidden nearly as carefully as the dark secrets involving the building, the town, and the people who live there; and where appearances are paramount. Back at home, Kate lives with her agoraphobic mom, who has mysterious ties to the library, while George lives next door. Kate wants only to return to Lincoln Middle, where she could play Peter Pan and be with friends, while George tries to make the best of what is a monstrously warped situation. The Whittaker family goes to extremes to impress the visiting First Lady, creating an atmosphere ripe for catastrophe-as well as for redemption. This expansive and engrossing tale has elements of Roald Dahl, J. K. Rowling, and J. M. Barrie (the Peter Pan subtheme is not coincidental), but with a decidedly American flair. The many seemingly unconnected threads do eventually come together, but it is hardly worth the effort as this overly ambitious author has spread himself way too thin.-Mary R. Hofmann, Rivera Middle School, Merced, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

A Carefree EveningKate was flying. She was thinking beautiful thoughts, and she was flying.She sailed across the backyard in a graceful arc, ten feet above the dirt, rising over the fence at her apogee near the kitchen window and dipping below it at her perigee near the back gate.Kate's uncle George, a slight, bespectacled boy, ran along the ground below her like a disembodied shadow. He had a length of rope tied around his waist. It ran up to a system of pulleys that were screwed deeply into the oak branch, threading through them and connecting, finally, to Kate. He was Kate's ballast, scurrying back and forth beneath the big oak branch, grunting and tugging in contrast to her effortless aerobatics.He called up to her, "How does the bodice feel?"Kate thought for a moment about the Velcro-and-wire brace wrapped around her body. "It's killing my armpits on the turns," she shouted, "but it's worth it! I'm flying, Uncle George. I'm sprinkled with fairy dust and I'm flying!" Spontaneously she broke into the first big number from Peter Pan, singing lustily, "I'm flying! Look at me way up high, suddenly here am I. I'm flying!"As she sang, Kate dipped one arm and one leg left, executing a smooth glide across the length of the yard and then back again. Her auburn hair wafted on and off her forehead, and her green eyes shone in the sunset.On the ground, George hustled to keep up with her. He was two years younger than his niece, Kate. He was twenty-two years younger than Kate's mother, his sister, June.Theirs was an unusual, although not unheard of, family arrangement. George and his parents, Kate's grandparents, lived in one-half of a gray-shingled duplex, with this fenced-in yard, while Kate and June lived in the other half. This is how things had always been, for as long as George had been alive.George was red and sweating when he called up, "Let's try a landing.""No," Kate shouted back. "Please, Uncle George. Let me sing 'Never Never Land,' and then I'll come down."George paused for a moment to check his invention. The pulleys were still securely attached to the tree. The rope was gliding smoothly through them. The bodice was a good fit, except for Kate's armpits. With a satisfied nod and a sigh, he took off running once again as the warm early-September evening faded slowly into dusk.Kate scooted her arms and legs outward, ballerina-like, and sang, "I know a place where dreams are born and time is never planned. It's not on any chart; you must find it with your heart, Never Never Land."With each move, Kate gained more confidence dancing on the air, coordinating her arms and legs in sweeping jets, grand gestures for the audience in the back row of the Lincoln Middle School auditorium. That was where, in two months' time, she hoped to be starring in the fall production of Peter Pan. But for now her performance was for George alone.Kate and George's duplex sat in a row of such double homes. Most were occupied by two unrelated Excerpted from Story Time by Edward Bloor All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.