School Library Journal
Gr 4-8--These short stories affirm the ability of their main characters to choose their fate. In the title story, Willie bravely searches for the cure for unhappiness. It, and the other stories, show readers the resilience and power of kids using their eyes and minds over accepting conventional adult wisdom. In "Pets," Eve comes up with a solution to the ghost cats who want her to join them, even though she is desperately ill. In "Teacher Tamer," Gregory sneaks into the house of his teacher to seek revenge for her persecution of him; instead, he comes to understand her. Whether facing a domineering mother, divorced parents, or a reputation as a bad guy, the protagonists take positive steps forward. It is this constant of taking action, of choosing the halo over the pitchfork, that make these stories inspiring. Some characters are crass and brash; others are introspective and quiet. Danger lurks in guns, ghosts, strangers, and unjust adults. It's a rare treat to be so surprised so consistently in a collection of stories that still adheres to its theme. Unpredictable and fun, these selections stand out for their inventiveness in dealing with difficult issues in a positive way without sacrificing the honest voices of real kids.