Leon and the Spitting Image is about a hotel full of animals. It s about an evil ice maker. It s about glass eyeballs and human catapults. It s about really old panty hose and Possibly Fake Hair.
But mostly it s about Leon Zeisel and his epic quest to survive fourth grade. What s stopping him? Two things. First, there s Miss Hagmeyer. She s a supernaturally strict teacher with ears that resemble giant rotting mushrooms. And then there is Leon s archenemy, Lumpkin the Pumpkin, a human tank with a deadly dodgeball throw known to all as the sidewinder.
Luckily, Leon has two friends, Lily-Matisse and P.W., who will stand by him no matter what -- even if his magical, mysterious plans for rescue and revenge involve . . . SPIT!
Leon Zeisel is in big trouble. He is perpetually exhausted due to an overactive icemaker in the hotel where he lives, he discovers in his mother s desk a confidential envelope from his school announcing that he displays "a troubling lack of fine motor skills," and worst of all, he begins fourth grade under the tyrannical tutelage of Miss Hagmeyer, a black-cloaked, black-wigged, mushroom-eared woman who is obsessed with sewing, a fine motor skill if there ever was one. Insisting that all instruction should stem from the Middle Ages and "The Heavenly Stitches of Virtue," the Hag forces her students to sew an "animile" per month, a stuffed animal of sorts that is not to exceed four s.p.i. (stitches per inch) in the inseam. What happens when Leon decides to sew his end-of-year "Master Piece," the "spitting image" of Miss Hagmeyer, an exact miniature replica down to her liver-colored panty hose? Allen Kurzweil creates a magical, eccentric world where, as in many of the most satisfying children s books, adults are benevolent but flawed--and kids are in delicious control of them. Fans of Daniel Pinkwater s novels will feel right at home with this clever and suspenseful underdog-turns-champion story with a dribble of magic. (Ages 8 and older) --Karin Snelson