One of a series of top-quality fiction for schools. Mouse is terrified when Marv Hammerman says he's out to get him. He and his friend Ezzie prepare for the worst, and they get it - sharks in their swimming area, a biting tarantula. When it comes to the 18th emergency, they are caught off guard.
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Betsy Byars began her writing career rather late in life. "In all of my school years, . . . not one single teacher ever said to me, 'Perhaps you should consider becoming a writer,'" Byars recalls. "Anyway, I didn't want to be a writer. Writing seemed boring. You sat in a room all day by yourself and typed. If I was going to be a writer at all, I was going to be a foreign correspondent like Claudette Colbert in Arise My Love. I would wear smashing hats, wisecrack with the guys, and have a byline known round the world. My father wanted me to be a mathematician." So Byars set out to become mathematician, but when she couldn't grasp calculus in college, she turned to English. Even then, writing was not on her immediate horizon.
First, she married and started a family. The writing career didn't emerge until she was 28, a mother of two children, and living in a small place she called the barracks apartment, in Urbana, Illinois. She and her husband, Ed, had moved there in 1956 so he could attend graduate school at the University of Illinois. She was bored, had no friends, and so turned to writing to fill her time. Byars started writing articles for The Saturday Evening Post, Look,and other magazines. As her family grew and her children started to read, she began to write books for young people and, fortunately for her readers, discovered that there was more to being a writer than sitting in front of a typewriter.
"Making up stories and characters is so interesting that I'm never bored. Each book has been a different writing experience. It takes me about a year to write a book, but I spend another year thinking about it, polishing it, and making improvements. I always put something of myself into my books -- something that happened to me. Once a wanderer came by my house and showed me how to brush my teeth with a cherry twig; that went in The House of Wingscopyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.Review:
"My favourite children's book ever is probably The Eighteenth Emergency by Betsy Byars. It's funny, it's sad, it's Magical Storytelling. And yet there are no explosions, no flying castles, no aliens plotting to take over Norway. It's just the small story of a cheeky boy who's in trouble with the school bully. But you really care about that boy. You feel you know him. You're right there rooting for him." -- Andy Stanton "A beautiful, poignant and funny story of school bullies and how to deal with them." -- Chris Riddell "The best bullying story ever, Betsy Byars's The Eighteenth Emergency manages to be very funny indeed without for a moment under-estimating its horrors or significance of the victim's feelings as he struggles for survival." -- Julia Eccleshare Books for Keeps "I have read The Eighteenth Emergency many times over the years, and it remains to me wholly contemporary and not dated in any way. I still think this is one of the best children's books ever written." -- Lauren Child "Betsy Byars' close perception of children's feelings and brilliant observation of their conversation are evident in all her work" Junior Education
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