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Strange Happenings: Five Tales of…
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Strange Happenings: Five Tales of Transformation (2006)

by Avi

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Five different stories that are thought provoking. Eerie stories of kid life.

In "Bored Tom" a boy is bored with his life. He is bored with school, bored with his friends, bored with his family. To him watching TV and sleeping is all that interests him. When he is approached by a cat, he is given a choice to have the life he thinks would be great. But is it?

"Babette the Beauty" brings up the idea of "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and what it can bring. When Queen Isabelle of Solandia decides she wants to have a daughter to follow in her footsteps, she visits an old crone deep in the north to have her wish granted. She desires a flawless child that is perfect in every way. When the child is born she is named Babette, and any one who sees her sees only beauty. The thing is, to allow no comparison to anyone else, the Queen bans mirrors from the kingdom, and instead has only paintings of the Princess around to show her beauty.

"Simon" is spoiled by his parents all his life. When he finally grows up and finds that his parents can no longer indulge him in his wants and wishes, he strikes off on his own. He becomes extremely successful and is able to buy whatever he wants. When he hears of a special and magical bird he determines he will have it. What he discovers when he does get it shows that greed is not a good thing.

Though written for children and an adult can read these short stories in one sitting, I found that I enjoyed taking a couple of days to read and think over the stories, the characters and the lessons that can be taken away.

Avi is a writer whose books I enjoy and find that there can be not only a good story but a little bit of stuff to think about. ( )
  ChazziFrazz | Jun 1, 2017 |
Pretty spooky - for ages 8 to 108 in my opinion... I bet these fables be a good inter-generational read-aloud, and would provoke discussions. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
I started reading this book because I wanted something light and easy until the library book I placed on hold became ready. So I turned to the Juvenile Fiction section, as juvenile fantasy can make for a nice easy read for any fan of the fantasy genre. This book was just "too" juvenile, so-much-so that after about ten pages I put it down. I think it's because it's a collection of short stories, and juvenile short stories seem to be soley plot driven, unlike literary short stories which have more depth and layers. Maybe I will try the author again at a later date, only this time one of his novels. ( )
  TiffanyHickox | Jul 21, 2010 |
This is the kind of book I would have chosen when I was 8-10 years old...all those year ago! Strange Happenings is a collection of five short stores by one author around the central theme of transformation. In this slim tome, the author covers all manner of transformations - we get animal transfiguration with a twist; a girl who creates her own image and discovers perfection is not all it's cracked up to be; the curious boy who gets more than he bargains for when he becomes fixated on finding out just WHO is in that mascot costume; an old-time favorite...the many faces of Ol' Scratch himself and what human greed can make us do for no real reason; and lastly, the Story of Simon who demanded the best...who above all else prized wealth and image and who discovers that getting what you want doesn't always mean getting what you want!

Overall the theme is well illustrated in the selection of stories; they are both simple but most have a "gotcha" twist at the end that has become standard for this type of story. Strange Happenings is not really a horror book, not is it wholly sci-fi...the author's style is reminiscent of Ray Bradbury (where there is always a moral to the story, even if it is somewhat ambiguous) but the stories themselves are subtler. My favorites here were Bored Tom (the transforming Cats) and Babbette the Beautiful. My least favorite was The Shoemaker and Old Scratch which was the least interesting and most drawn out of the stories (I felt). That said, none of the stories was bad and all of them were well written! I enjoyed reading these five tales and quick reading it was. This would make for find classroom discussion around a central theme...each story is simple yet engaging and all of them can lead to relevant discussion of self image and motivations. I can see this being entertaining AND food for thought! I'd recommend this highly to young readers (ages 8-12, with 8-10 being ideal) who've transitioned fully to chapter books but still need relatively simple plots that are both SIMPLE and INTERESTING! ( )
  the_hag | Jan 17, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0152064613, Paperback)

Children become cats and birds, a once-invisible young woman pieces herself back together, and the identity of a mysterious baseball mascot is uncovered—all within this eclectic collection from master storyteller Avi. By turns chilling, ethereal, and surreal, these thought-provoking tales are sure to engage anyone who has ever wondered what it would be like to become someone—or something—else.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:28 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Collects five original stories where strange changes occur, from a boy and a cat changing places and a young man learning the price of selfishness to an invisible princess finding herself.

» see all 3 descriptions

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