The Mischievians

Common Sense Media says

Funny encyclopedia of annoying things and who's responsible.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

Dr. Zooper gives the kids a glimpse of his laboratory and offers them, and the reader, a chance to keep records for themselves of the Mischievians they encounter. Coming up with imaginative and logical -- though perhaps not really believable -- explanations also is part of the challenge.

Positive messages

Personal investigation can result in imaginative results and explanations. 

Positive role models

Though the premise is not realistic, the kids are inquisitive and excited about learning. Dr. Zooper is eager to teach.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Mischievians is an imaginative picture book with whimsical illustrations typical of books by author-illustrator William Joyce, and it has silly explanations for some of the things kids ask about. Although readers of all ages will find something to enjoy, the text may be a little complicated for younger kids but will tickle the funny bone of those in the primary grades. Also, it should give everyone plenty of opportunity to discuss things that annoy them. 

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What's the story?

A brother and sister are alarmed because things keep mysteriously disappearing in their home, including their already completed homework! When they go searching for answers, they are swooped down a tube that lands them in the middle of Dr. Zooper's lab. From that point on, THE MISCHIEVIANS presents one question-and-answer scenario after another accompanied by illustrations, which proves that the book is truly what it claims to be: \"an encyclopedia of things that make mischief, make mayhem, make noise, and make you CRAZY.\" From Homework Eaters and Lintbellians to Stickies, Heebie Jeebies, and more, these tiny creatures can be annoying but are not mean or malicious, and they are everywhere! On the last page, there's space for kids to report any Mischievian they encounter and make a drawing of it, give it a name, and state its size and history.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

As with any William Joyce book, the story's slightly offbeat, and kids and parents will enjoy it. The scenarios are imaginative, and the illustrations are absolutely captivating in their quirkiness. The questions about the little annoying mysteries of life will be familiar to most readers, though some mysteries resonate even more humorously with kids (the Danglers, Gigglers, and Pootles, for example).

The little arm reaching out and stealing a letter from the occasional page, the labeling of each scenario with a file number and name, and the endpaper encouraging kids to add to the study adds even more to the Dr. Zooper experience.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the various question-and-answer scenarios William Joyce presents. What do you think about Dr. Zooper's explanations? What kinds of things annoy you? Can you think of any other Mischievians you might add to the book? 

  • Do the illustrations in The Mischievians remind you of those in any other books you've read? What about Dr. Seuss? How do the illustrations help with the explanations? Or do they?

  • Did you notice that some of the letters are missing? Who's doing that mischief? What about the green, six-eyed creature peeking through the back page? What's he up to? What would you call him?

Book details

Author:William Joyce
Illustrator:William Joyce
Genre:Humor
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Atheneum
Publication date:October 18, 2013
Number of pages:56
Publisher's recommended age(s):5 - 8
Read aloud:5 - 10
Read alone:7 - 10
Available on:Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook

This review of The Mischievians was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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