Friday, September 28, 2012

Flashback Friday: Beware the Fish

Okay, don't judge me.  I love this book.  I realize it's older than I am and not in a classic, will live forever sort of way.  Not that it's not hilarious, because it is, and not that everyone shouldn't read this growing up, because they should.  No, it's rather dated, and not in the the let's explore how social structure of the fifties (or late seventies/early eighties) sort of way.  Still, this book made me randomly burst out laughing while I was growing up, and it's one of the ones I absolutely had to own (though it took about 5 used bookstores for me to find it).  And again, Google images, Goodreads, and Amazon have all let me down.  Not once did I ever find the cover I grew up loving, the one with the crazy lady in a bathrobe and curlers sporting a shotgun and a flashlight trained at poor Boots and Bruno. Ah the tragedy.  So, here's the sad, generic "updated" version of the cover and a quick summary.

"Macdonald Hall has never been like this!" shouts Bruno.  "The food is garbage . . . our rooms are freezing . . . and there's cost-cutting all over the place.  What's going on?"

What is going on?  Is Macdonald Hall going broke?  Not if Boots and Bruno can help it!  Fortified with Care packages from the girls at Miss Scrimmage's school, the boys devise some fantastic, fundraising schemes--involving not only The Fish (Headmaster Sturgeon), but also the police, who track the mysterious Fish image, appearing on local TV screens, direct to Macdonald Hall!

Quoted from the back of my copy of the book (by Scholastic Book Services), the one that sadly  I can find no images for.

In a nutshell, this book is about two best friends, Boots and Bruno, and their crazy, school-wide schemes to save Macdonald Hall, their Canadian boarding school. I realize there are a few too many exclamation points in the summary, but it's a kids book first published in 1980, so I'll cut them some slack.  Still, this book is so funny.  I re-read it a couple of years ago, and it still made me chuckle.  Kids today may have a hard time imagining a world with no cell phones or video games--oh wait, Harry Potter lived in a boarding school where there were also no cell phones or video games, or even TV, so I don't actually think that will be a problem.

This book is full of fun, colorful characters and crazy situations.  It's also a book about friendship and loyalty.  How many kids have been this supportive and in love with a school since (or before) Hogwarts?  How many kids worry about the headmaster loosing his job?  No matter what kinds of craziness the main characters get into, and they get into a lot--from UFOs to visiting girls and building pyramids . . . out of soda cans--they are always looking out for each other and their school.

I give this book a laugh-out-loud  4 stars.  It's funny, has great characters, and hilarious mishaps.  Yes, it is more suited to twelve-year-olds, but anyone can enjoy this book, and if you can find it, I absolutely recommend it.


  1. I absolutely love this book! I had totally forgotten about this book, I am so glad you brought it back to my memory. I would totally recommend this book to anyone to read. It's really, really funny!

  2. I"ll have to read it. Also, Rachel, do you have a library card at the provo library? I'm wanting to get one since I discovered today that the library is a mere block from where i live ..haha

  3. Yes, I have a card. You just need proof you live in provo, like a bill or something.

  4. I read this and laughed so hard! It was so fun and totally reminded me a bit of shaggy dog..mostly because of the goofiness. Totally worth the two hours it takes to read!