Written by Paul Fleischman
Illustrated by David Roberts
Candlewick Press, 2009. Intermediate.
The Dunderheads are an ensemble cast of talented classmates working together to pull off a complex caper against their villainous teacher, Miss Breakbone. These aptly nicknamed students (Einstein, Spitball, Hollywood, and so on) join forces in order to retrieve a confiscated item from Miss Breakbone’s fortress-like home. It takes everything from paperclip chains to hypnosis to get the job done.
This J Intermediate book is unique in both tone and format; the snappy text reads like a noir for third graders while the detailed, expressive illustrations take up over half of the page space. The interplay of word and image create an over-the-top heist story that is funny, action-filled, and fueled by kid power.