Swinburne, Stephen. Wiff and Dirty George: The Z.E.B.R.A. Incident
Nominated for the Cybils by Elizabeth Bird
Wiff and George, two poor English boys, are in Paddington Station when everyone's zips and buttons give way and an evil rabbit pops up to take pictures of everyone's embarassment. They return home, where they manage to figure out that the rabbit is really Wiff's grandmother's long lost brother, Basil. The two take off to Brighton to track him down, but are kidnapped by Basil's evil henchmen and taken off to the laboratory where the Zipper Extraction Button Removal Atom-Smasher was developed, along with other instruments of evil. The two boys meet Daphne, Basil's granddaughter, and with her help fly in a giant carrot to Kew Gardens to stop Basil's plot of kidnapping the Queen and substituting someone in her place in order to put an end to Bangers and Mash day celebrations. The reason? Not only was Basil embarassed as a boy when he came out of the bathroom with toilet paper on his heels, but he was kicked out of the secret service because he married a Russian spy. Since Wiff and George were successful but did not neutralize Basil, there may be a sequel.
Strengths: Fast-paced, and has an easy to follow plot. Can't say I've read anything like it.
Weaknesses: Very, very British, and completely nutty. If the cover were stronger, I might be able to sell it, but the cover is all kinds of bad. Elementary students might go for this, but I don't see it being successful for middle school.