What’s it about?
In the further adventures of Simon and his eccentric relatives, Simon is dismayed when his beloved, but decidedly loopy, Great Aunt Matilda arrives at school one day as the new substitute teacher for his class, a group of assorted misfits skilled at one thing only: terrorizing substitute teachers. The way Matilda deals with the class, and Simon deals with his great aunt, plays out as the class struggles to put together a typically (for Aunt Matilda) unorthodox – and outrageous – Science Fair project.
Where did the idea come from?
Aunt Mattie, whom we first met in No More Nice, is based on my own Great Aunt Alice, an eccentric Bostonian who impressed me as a small child with her wild white hair and offbeat ways. Her sister, another one of my great aunts, is the star of the classic children’s book The Peterkin Papers (she’s the model for the Wise Lady from Philadelphia). That was one of my favorite books as a child.
Simon, a polite and correct child, reminds me of my own son – and of myself at that age. We were both too good for our own good, and I wish I had had someone like Aunt Mattie who might have helped me realize that it’s okay sometimes to color outside the lines.
What have reviewers said?
“Children will simply giggle through MacDonald’s hysterical novel.” –Maine Sunday Telegram
“This is a fast read for children who want something funny and light.” –Kirkus
“The hero and his classmates are in for a surprise as their classroom is turned upside down, and [Aunt Matilda’s] cockeyed view makes learning fun.” –Publishers Weekly
“…readers will enjoy it as a read-aloud or read-alone.” –School Library Journal
“MacDonald’s tall-tale-like story will keep kids laughing and reading right to the satisfying ending.” –Booklist