There was nothing Otis Spofford liked better than stirring up a little excitement, particularly at school. A less resourceful teacher than Mrs. Gitler would have found him pretty hard to take. But even Mrs. Gitler did not entirely relish the bullfight at the fiesta arranged for the P.T.A. meeting. Otis was disappointed at not being the toreador, but as the front half of the bull he managed to steal the whole show, to the annoyance of his classmates and his teacher. It was then that Mrs. Gitler suggested that Otis might someday get his comeuppance.
Of all Otis's acquaintances, the neat and well-behaved Ellen Tebbits was the one he most enjoyed teasing. Strangely enough, it was Ellen who at last brought about his comeuppance. But before that happens, his losing spitball battle with Mrs. Gitler, his surprising affection for the experimental baby rat, and his insect collecting on behalf of the football hero provide a feast of fun for any child or grownup.
Mrs. Cleary's gifts as a writer are many, and her real understanding warms every page of this wonderful story of a "bad boy."
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November 30, 2001
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