I've been meaning to mention these for a while, since the kids love them so! Mordecai Richler's "Jacob Two-Two" books are terrific reads for kids: there are three of them--J T-T Meets the Hooded Fang (McClelland and Stewart, 1975), J T-T and the Dinosaur (M&S 1987), and J T-T's First Spy Case (M&S 1995; they've all been reprinted in paper, first by Puffin, then by Tundra--they're still in print). I love when a writer I am crazy about myself has written kids' books too (and Richler's "Solomon Gursky was Here" is on my own personal all-time top 100 list!).

Jacob is the youngest (he ranges from 6 to 8 over the course of the three books) of a large family (who all have the same names as Richler's own children); he's called "Two-Two" because he has to say everything twice, because nobody listens to him the first time. In each story, he is in peril of one sort or another (from various authority figures every time--justice system, police, principal, government, etc.), but he cleverly solves his problems, sometimes with a little help from his friends (Child Power, comprising the Fearless O'Toole and the Intrepid Shapiro; and also X. Barnaby Dinglebat, Master Spy, Jacob's new next-door neighbour).

Richler's great gifts for fantasy and satire are everywhere in evidence here; they're laugh-out-loud funny (the "Dinosaur" book is particularly funny if you are up on Canadian politics of that era). If your kids like Roald Dahl, then I think these would also suit (I actually like these better, myself).

All three books are around 100 pages, and have excellent black and white illustrations (by Fritz Wegner in the first book, and by Norman Eyolfson in the other two). Grade Three-ish, Four-ish reading level, maybe?

Sorry, I'm feeling rather scattered today--that's not a very well-written review!

in pieces (!)