Author: Trudi Trueit
Published: Aladdin, 2009
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Target Audience: Boys, Grades 3-5
Cover Score: B
Overall Grade: A-
Summary: Meet Scab McNally, a fourth grade lab rat. Part inventor, part daredevil, Scab is determined to get a dog, no matter what it takes (even if his goody-two-shoes twin sister Isabelle gets in the way). So when Scab's new invention (a sister-repellent called "Isabelle's Smell") becomes a hit with the fourth-grade guys, Scab starts to sell the spray to save up for his future dog. But then everything goes hilariously awry (involving a hazmat crew and an angry best friend), and it's up to Scab to set things right again...
My thoughts: I know that it's a problem to get younger boys to read sometimes, but Trudi Trueit's new Secrets of a Lab Rat series will have boys eagerly turning the pages. Equally funny, relatable, and slightly yucky, No Girls Allowed is a fast-paced, short, yet satisfying read.
The characters were well-designed, and Scab was a humorous, strong protagonist. I loved all of Jim Paillot's funky illustrations and all of the little tips and lists scattered throughout the text, it injected humor and gave Scab a boost of personality. The character of Isabelle (Scab's perfect twin sister) also makes the book appealing to girl readers and balanced out all of the boy humor in the book. I loved the way the siblings interacted, it was very realistic (perhaps based off of the author's memories?)
My one problem was that the book was very predictable, but then again it is geared towards younger readers.
Age-appropriate and simple to read, Secrets of a Lab Rat is a school library essential!
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