Stravaganza: City of Masks by Mary Hoffman
The hospital's treatment has left Lucien sick in his bed, hardly able to keep anything down, let alone move. It's been months since he felt any joy in living, and, as the days drag on, he's finding it harder and harder to speak. But he can't help but see his parents' eyes fill with tears as they watch him fade away. The chemo might be enough to help him. Nothing but time will tell, and, for now, Lucien has lots of that.
When his dad brings him a handsome notebook, found in a derelict house on the outskirts of London, Lucien is intrigued. It's a very old piece, the work of a master craftsman. Its thick paper and marbled cover feel good to the touch. The pages are blank, but somehow it still comforts him as he slips into his first deep sleep in many days.
Jon Scieszka (pronounce that SHESH-ka) is a wild and crazy guy. Don't leave the man alone in a room with an old-fashioned story. He'll twist it and bend it around 'til it looks like something that should be dripping with cheese and sold at the shopping mall.
His takes on classic tales are so off-the-wall you'll wonder what it would have been like to have him in your class. Let me tell you: it would have been dangerous-for you. He'd sit quietly, and then he'd crack up the other kids without making a sound. THEY would be the ones to get into trouble. Not Jon.