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PreSchool-Grade 2-Arthur, Francine, and the Backstreet Boys? The cover of the book announces a "prime-time television special" tie-in. Francine starts a band called U Stink and it rises to fame immediately. Then she decides she wants to disband because the other members are going commercial. Meanwhile, Arthur and friends, who didn't make the cut (for good reasons), start a band of their own. They really do stink. When the Backstreet Boys (with appropriate animal ears) stage a concert in town, everyone wants U Stink to play with them on stage. Arthur and his friends have been favorites of children for a long time, and this offering is likely to be as popular as the rest of the series. The story has a moral twist, the characters are as lovable as ever, and the colorful cartoon illustrations are cheerful, but the inevitable question is: Is Arthur "selling out?"-Kay Bowes, Concord Pike Library, Wilmington, DE
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 1-3. Arthur fans as well as children who like music will appreciate this humorous episode in the aardvark's adventures that finds Arthur's classmate Francine starting her own band. It's obvious early on that her band, U Stink, will not be a sellout like the Backstreet Boys, who are coming to town. But when bandmate Muffy corners Backstreet Boy Nick in the elevator, which conveniently becomes stuck right before the Boys concert, U Stink is asked to perform. Purist Francine resists, but eventually enthusiasm wins out; she agrees to play: "Let's rock!" she shouts. The story, a sop to pop culture, is ridiculous, but it does reflect every music fan's secret desire to be a star or meet a music idol. The familiar cast of characters doesn't disappoint, and kids will probably chuckle at the caricatures of the Boys as they exist in Arthur's world, with aardvark or rabbit ears atop each head; the real band appears in a photo on the back flap. Diane Foote
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