Cover image for One final firecracker
One final firecracker

The Hamlet chronicles ;

Hamlet chronicles ;
Maguire, Gregory.
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Publication Information:
New York : Clarion Books, c2005.
Physical Description:
225 p. : ill., map ; 24 cm.
Series Title:
Hamlet chronicles ; v. 7.

One final firecracker
A giant spider and several other odd creatures from the earlier books in the Hamlet Chronicles return as the small Vermont town celebrates a grammar school graduation, Miss Earth's wedding, and the Fourth of July.
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Book V00001843079 J FIC MAGUIRE, G.

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It's the last day of school in Hamlet, Vermont . . . and the last day the Copycats and Tattletales will have Miss Earth as their teacher. But there's too much going on to be sad. The Sinister Sisters Circus is in town . . . then comes Miss Earth's wedding to Mayor Grass . . . and then the Fourth of July!

Meanwhile, the mysterious pull Hamlet seems to have on supernatural creatures is hard at work. The beings from the previous books are making their way back into town--the Flameburpers Beatrice and Amos (who technically never left); Rhoda, one of the Four Stupid Cupids; all five of the Five Alien Elves; Baby Tusker from Six Haunted Hairdos; and perhaps most sinisterly, Hubda, the last remaining Siberian Snow Spider. Chaos ensues as the students struggle to keep the various visitors hidden. Meanwhile, Hubda lurks, waiting for the chance to deliver her deadly bite. Don't miss this satisfying, out-of-this-world wrap-up to a beloved series.

Author Notes

Gregory Maguire was born June 9, 1954 in Albany, New York. He received a B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany and a Ph.D. in English and American literature from Tufts University. He is a founder and co-director of Children's Literature New England, Incorporated, a non-profit educational charity established in 1987.

He writes for both adults and children. His first book, The Lighting Time, was published in 1978. His adult works include Wicked, Confessions of and Ugly Stepsister, Lost, Mirror Mirror, Son of a Witch, and A Lion Among Men. The Broadway play Wicked is based on his book of the same title. His children's books include the picture book Crabby Cratchitt, the novel The Good Liar, and the Hamlet Chronicles series.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-In the seventh and final installment in the series, the two rival groups in Miss Earth's class, the Tattletales and the Copycats, must once again band together to save the day. The remaining Siberian snow spider from Seven Spiders Spinning (1994) has been released by an unknown perpetrator and is making her way back to Hamlet to deliver a fatal bite to one of the youngsters. Simultaneously, Amos the Flameburper, from Three Rotten Eggs (2002, both Clarion), hatches from his cocoon and might be on his own deadly rampage. All of this is happening just in time for the Fourth of July weekend and the wedding of the childrens' beloved teacher. Old characters are back, including an elephant ghost, Fixipuddling aliens, and a desperate cupid. Toss in two sinister sisters who run a circus and an undercover writer, and what you get is an entertaining but exhausting finale to the series. Featuring the same crazy humor found in the previous stories, this book is packed with puns that will amuse children. Maguire makes a good, although at times confusing, attempt to incorporate the major plot points of the other tales so that readers new to the series can enjoy the insanity as much as old fans do.-Carly B. Wiskoff, Great Neck Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



1. THE SINISTER SISTERSMiss Earth concluded, Any questions about your final homework assignment of the year, kids? For once, her students were speechlessshocked with joy. Each child held a graduation present. The green ticket with gold letters promised to ADMIT ONE to The Sinister Sisters Circus on the evening of July 2.How many Sinister Sisters are there? asked Fawn Petros. And how sinister are they? I know the answer to that, said Thud Tweed. I saw their circus once before, when I spent the summer at a fat farm in the Poconos. The Mistress of Ceremonies is named Vampyra. Her skin is a deathly pale and her straight black hair is pulled all to one side and falls to her hip. Corpsina, the comic relief, is dumpier. Her red curls flatten on the top, and spring out like wings on either side of her head. The Sisters are creepy. I love them. Theyre not really sinister. Its entertainment, thats all, said Miss Earth consolingly. The greatest show on earth. Your last assignment of grammar school is to come to the circus with me, and enjoy it. You dont have to hand in a written report afterward. We couldnt even if we wanted to, complained Sharday Wren. The circus comes to town on July 1st. It plays one night only, on July 2. And by then school will be out. Its all over. I never heard of a bunch of kids who didnt long for summer vacation! said Miss Earth in a bright tone.But Miss Earth, said Hector Yellow. Youre being married the next day! You cant take us to the circus the night before your wedding. Miss Earth replied, I can do anything I want. My fianc will be having a bachelor party with his pals in the town garage, and I have decided Id rather spend the evening with you. Itll be my last night as a single woman, and who better to celebrate it with than my students? Your former students, moaned Anna Maria Mastrangelo. Oh, lighten up, said Miss Earth. Im not going anywhere. But we are, said Anna Maria. Were going to middle school. Assuming we graduate, that is. A safe assumption, said Miss Earth. Graduation is the day after tomorrow. Youd know by now if you were being kept back a year. There were several sighs. Some were sighs of relief. A few were sighs of regret, from children who wished they could repeat the grade so they wouldnt have to say goodbye to Miss Earth.Their teacher continued. I know most of you are coming to my wedding on July 3. But on that memorable day, Ill probably be too preoccupied to attend to you as Id like. Going to the circus the night before seems like a more suitable capstone to our happy time together. It has been happy. Hasnt it? She looked around. Shed never seen her students with such long faces. Miss Earth had been their teacher for two years running. Life as they knew it was about to come to an end.Changing the subject usually helped. Miss Earth said, Thud, why dont you tell us a little more about the Sinister Sisters Circus? Thud Tweed said, Oh, its so cool. It has a few wild animalsa lion in a cage, some elephants. Excerpted from One Final Firecracker by Gregory Maguire All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.