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Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time


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About the Author

Lisa Yee's novels include Millicent Min, Girl Genius; Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time (an ALA Notable Book); the first Bobby book, Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally); and most recently WARP SPEED. She lives in South Pasadena, California, with her family. Please visit her website at


Gr 5-7-A companion volume to Millicent Min, Girl Genius (Scholastic, 2003). From birth, when his father named him for his alma mater, great things have been expected from Stanford Wong. When his lack of interest in academics causes him to fail sixth-grade English and lands him in summer school, his star status on his school's basketball team is endangered. It is a summer of turmoil and family tension. Stanford's father is working longer and longer hours to try for a promotion, and a host of other changes are occurring. Stanford must come to grips with missing out on basketball camp, grit his teeth through tutoring sessions with Millicent the genius, see his beloved grandmother moved to an assisted-living facility, and try to hide his summer-school attendance from his buddies. His observations on his overachieving father and sister can be hilarious, and the loving close-up of his grandmother's dementia is wonderfully drawn. Stanford's days are narrated one by one, so readers are privy to all his musings, from the odor of farts to the rush of a first crush. There's much here for boys to identify with, including Stanford's need for parental approval and his single-minded pursuit of the sport he loves. His growth as a person as the summer unfolds is warmly satisfying. The conclusion has Stanford's workaholic father undergo an unexpected and unsubstantiated change of heart, but kids won't mind the surprise happy ending.-Faith Brautigam, Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, IL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Fans of Millicent Min, Girl Genius, have a chance to take a closer look at Millicent's nemisis, Standford Wong, in this winsome companion novel told from Standford's point of view. Here, behind Standford's pesky exterior, readers will discover a complicated, vulnerable and lovable hero, whose summer after sixth grade begins on a sour note. After flunking English class, Standford must give up his opportunity to go to a prestigious basketball camp in order to attend summer school. To add insult to injury, his parents have hired brainy Millicent (whom they both greatly admire) to be his private tutor. Meanwhile, tensions rise in Standford's home due to Mr. Wong's recent obsession with work and Mrs. Wong's suggestion that Standford's beloved but forgetful, live-in grandmother, Yin-Yin be placed in a nursing home. During a summer filled with painful growing experiences, Standford learns that there's more to life than basketball as he struggles to win his father's acceptance, falls in love for the first time and develops surprising loyalties to much-taunted Millicent and the "Teacher Torturer," who flunked him. Upon finishing this book, those who have already opened their hearts to Millicent will find room to include Standford too, and will likely want to know how both will fare in the upcoming school year. Ages 9-12. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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