Mac is back, and things are bad at his school. There is a huge problem with animal poop in lockers, and there's lots of work for that. The cafeteria food is now delicious, but horribly unhealthy. A girl approaches Mac for help in getting a teacher who seems to have a vendetta against her fired, and the school has the all-important SMARTS tests coming up. Worst of all, the new principal is closing in on Mac's deserted bathroom, and the business is in danger of being shut down. Can Mac save the school before this happens?
Strengths: Even though this book is standing directly on the line of annoyingly goofy, it never steps over. It's funny, fast-paced, and will be snapped up seconds after it hits the shelf. I liked this better than the first book.
Weaknesses: *Spoiler Alert* When Mac and his friends break into the office and change test answers, I practically started to hyperventilate. Even though I think the Ohio Acchievement Assessments are a huge waste of tax payer money, we take them seriously. Deathly seriously. Like if anyone other than the test taker so much as touched another answer sheet with an eraser, I think alarm sirens would go off in my building. When tests are being given, our building just shuts down. Children have to be escorted to the restrooms, we have to sign that we understand the rules in blood-- it's awful. So when Mac changes answers, my only thought was "Who's going to lose their job over this?"
Originally published 1997; reissued by Peachtree
After the death of their parents, Scott and Gregg move from California to Colorado to live with their uncle Rocky, who runs a business taking people on canoe trips on the river. Money is very tight, so the boys are expected to pitch in with the business and learn to be guides. Their uncle is used to living alone and has high expectations for their behavior. Scott, who is eager to please and does well in school, tries to make the best of the situation, but Gregg, who is 17 and thinking about college, is not happy and very confrontational with the uncle. Gregg starts hanging out with the wrong crowd, which makes his work on the unpredictable river even more dangerous.
Strengths: Rottman's Stetson is always popular with my 8th grade boys who want something a little more mature but still accessible for middle school students. With it's touch of romance, and large amount of outdoor adventure, this will be a popular book as well.
Weaknesses: I thought this one read like an older title, which it is. I am somewhat suprised that my library didn't have this one, and felt slightly duped that this one was available on Netgalley because of the republication. Still a good book.