Mary Rodgers is the author of Freaky Friday, a book that has sold more than a million copies, has been made into two movies, and is now considered, quite rightly, a classic. Mary has also written two other novels for young readers, Summer Switch and A Billion for Boris, as well as the music for the musical Once Upon a Mattress. A trustee of the Juilliard School, Mary Rodgers lives and works in New York City.
With help from screenwriter Hach (who wrote the screenplay for the 2003 film adaptation of Freaky Friday), Rodgers reprises her 1972 novel with this unexceptional follow-up that features teacher and student in the switcheroo roles. Hadley, 13, excels at academics but feels "like the lame consolation prize of the family" compared to her athletic, gorgeous sister, Tatum. Ms. Pitt, who is so devoted to her students she has neglected her own life, has taught both sisters. During a class discussion of To Kill a Mockingbird, she innocently compares Hadley to Tatum, causing teacher and student to simultaneously quote Harper Lee's text about not really understanding a person until you "climb into his skin and walk around in it." Lights flicker and voilù: Hadley, in Ms. Pitt's body, has instant access to the teacher's lounge, while Ms. Pitt must handle romantic attention from the boy Hadley's been crushing on. A few slapstick scenes occur before the predictable ending in which Hadley realizes that she has talents, Tatum has flaws and Ms. Pitt needs to get out more. Amiable but nothing new. Ages 9-12. (May) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Gr 4-6-More than 35 years after Freaky Friday (HarperTrophy, 1972) was published, Rodgers introduces a new cast of characters in another tale of switching bodies. Hadley Fox is a geeky, overachieving middle school student who thinks her world is ending when she forgets to prepare for an oral presentation in English class. With her teacher prompting her, she tries to wing it. "What happened next sounds made up but I swear it is completely true." That sentence about sums it up. While reciting a line from To Kill a Mockingbird in unison with Ms. Pitt, they swap bodies. Hadley finds herself interviewing for the English Department Chair position while her teacher becomes a student again. Of course, both of them learn from the experience. Hadley realizes that there's more to life than academics, and her teacher sees the benefits of developing a social life and cutting back on the number of committees she chairs. After the lessons are learned, they accidentally recite the line that got them into trouble the first time and switch back. Rodgers covers no new ground here, but she offers a light story that should appeal to reluctant readers.-Kelly Roth, Bartow County Public Library, Cartersville, GA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.