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Strange Happenings: Five Tales of Transformation

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3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  573 Ratings  ·  88 Reviews
Children become cats and birds, a once-invisible young woman pieces herself back together, and the identity of a mysterious baseball mascot is uncovered—all within this eclectic collection from master storyteller Avi. By turns chilling, ethereal, and surreal, these thought-provoking tales are sure to engage anyone who has ever wondered what it would be like to become someo ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published September 1st 2008 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published May 1st 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Lori
Jan 03, 2008 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008january
Another "Mom, you have to read this!" from my 6-year-old. And really, who can resist discussing literature with a cool kid?

Honestly, I loved that she loved it. Five stories with at least one decent twist each, and a couple of them surprised me. She'll be on to Ray Bradbury, Steven King and Clive Barker before I know it.
Natalie
This book is very well written, but very, very strange. It is a collection of five short, strange, and sometimes dark tales. Everything about the book is strange. Intriguing, but strange. Mysterious, in a strange way. It is very well written, though, so if you don't mind strangness or a little dark, I recomend you read this story.
Terri
Feb 21, 2008 Terri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Avi's short stories will intrigue readers and delight those who enjoy spooky settings, a shiver up the spine, an eerie or ironic twist. These tales build suspense without being horrific, a nice change of pace and a step up from Goosebumps!
Addison
Oct 08, 2009 Addison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
theres like three stories in it and it is so cool my favorite story is theres this devil and a cat and it is an awsome book
Emily Morris
Oct 24, 2013 Emily Morris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surprisingly, this book is a little more intense than it looks, and I suppose it serves me right for expecting less from Avi. However, when I ordered this I was honestly predicting some cute little spooky stories and nothing more. Instead, Avi whips out the crazies from his deep imagination for some truly spellbinding and even disturbing tales (that are still appropriate for children's literature, of course). Impressive, all the way. Avi hits everything from the modern day to the fairy tale to t ...more
Grace Wright
A bunch of weird stories are in this book. Children become animals, a once-invisible woman pieces herself back together, and the identidy of a mysterious mascot is uncovered. All these are: STRAANGE HAPPENINGS!!!!
Kay Iscah
5 Cautionary Tales to darken the sleep of your tween. Avi is a very talented author. Most of these stories kind of had a moral to them, which makes the dark endings easier to take. I just didn't enjoy them that much. It's probably because the only likable protagonist is the one who has the worst fate...well, I suppose you could argue the Shoemaker's fate is worse, but he at least gets to live a long full life first.

I'm glad this is one of my free post-yard sale scores...it still has a $15 sticke
...more
Chris
Jan 29, 2014 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, cat-fiction
Full review at Booklikes.


It’s actually a pretty decent collection of stories. The two central themes are of transformation and are careful what you wish for, you just meant get it. The problem with the use of the second theme in some books is that taken too badly it can be seen as an endorsement of “maintain the status quo and conform”.

Avi is not one of these writers. The point isn’t conforming, but acknowledging the situation, dealing with it, and moving beyond it.

True, there is one story whe
...more
Christina (tinabookworlds)
This was a really cute book. If I was younger I probably would have enjoyed these stories even more. I liked all of the stories especially the last one. I liked how simple it was to read and how quickly I got through it. Of course, since I'm older these stories didn't do as much for me as they would have when I was younger. But I did like the messages they provided. Overall, I thought it was written well and I did like it. I just had some issues with how obvious the stories were. I knew the dir ...more
Smile!  :D
Nov 11, 2008 Smile! :D rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: second-quarter
Never listen to what a cat has to say!!!!!
Stay away from Mascots!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Beware that person behind the door!!!!!!!!
(Don't ask just read the book & you'll know what i mean!)
This book lives up to it's title the story's in hear are strange! I tell you the last chapter leaves you woundering "Would I ever make that same mistake?" That's my favorite chp! The whole book will make u second guess about simple things in life. Even if the story's are weird each chp has a life lesson.
I
...more
Monica Lopez
Mar 24, 2014 Monica Lopez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading this science fiction novel by Avi. It is well written and uses descriptive language, would be great to help build vocabulary in young readers. Children become cats and birds and get to experience what it would be like to be something else. Another woman who was invisible, becomes a human again. It's a nice collection of tales that weave together really well. This book would be perfect for middle school kids.
Kaethe
I just couldn't resist the cool cover.

***

Possibly not the best introduction to the writing of Avi for me. there was much I found amusing, but overall I found the stories a little to heavy-handed with the moralizing. I prefer my fairy tales to be less linear in cause and effect.
Amanda Lyons
Fun, simple retellings of older parables. Good stuff for the 8-12 group.
Hannah
Mar 06, 2014 Hannah rated it it was amazing
It's so interesting! A bit creepy, but I like that in books :)
Jen
Sep 24, 2007 Jen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Avi fans
This book was enjoyable to read, but the stories were fairly predictable.
Chazzi
Jun 01, 2017 Chazzi rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile
Five different stories that are thought provoking. Eerie stories of kid life.

In "Bored Tom" a boy is bored with his life. He is bored with school, bored with his friends, bored with his family. To him watching TV and sleeping is all that interests him. When he is approached by a cat, he is given a choice to have the life he thinks would be great. But is it?

"Babette the Beauty" brings up the idea of "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and what it can bring. When Queen Isabelle of Solandia deci
...more
Lydia
May 30, 2017 Lydia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting and amusing book of short stories.
Hannah
May 07, 2017 Hannah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in 5th grade and I still find myself thinking about it now as a 20 year old woman. Honestly, I'm sure this book has scarred me for life in one way or another.
04josiek
Oct 24, 2011 04josiek rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
In this book there are five different short stories to it. The first one is called Bored Tom. The first short story is about Tom this kid is so bored of his life and doing homework. He just wishes he didnt have to go to school anymore, he just wants to sleep all day long. One day he was sitting on his front porch and a black cat came over and talked to him. Tom thought he was crazy cause he could hear the cat talking. The cats name was Charlie. Charlie became his house pet and he would sleep al ...more
Keida Avdo
Jan 13, 2017 Keida Avdo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is filled with fictional mishaps that teach the character a lesson.
Xyra
Jun 12, 2016 Xyra rated it liked it
If you like twisted, somewhat disturbing tales then this collection is for you. Strange Happenings is a collection of five short stories that are more like fables (think Aesop or Beadle the Bard) than short stories. Each has a very pronounced life lesson.

[Small spoiler alert - no details; you have to read them for yourself]
Bored Tom is the subject of the cover story. He learns he should be happy and appreciate what he has.

Baabette the Beautiful had a vain mother whose wish or demands and treatme
...more
JP
Sep 15, 2016 JP rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was really interesting. Personally, the book had lots of different settings. Some chapters it would be a whole new story. The stories would be very strange, hence the title strange happenings, and would not happen in real life. The book is not long at all and is very easy to read. I recommend this book to readers that struggle a little like me. It starts off a little weird but gets more understandable as you go. I would read this book in another year so I can remember all the strange t ...more
Sarah Eagle
Avi, author of famed book "Poppy" wrote 5 faux-Grimm fairy tales about people being transformed, or characters who transform. I liked these tales, they contain all of the depth and thought that Avi spends on everything he writes. However, they were REALLY DARK for what I'm used to seeing of him. A boy named Jeff, protagonist to one of the stories, was eaten. Another was shot. Another was carried off by the devil.
It's nice to see authors you like branch out, but at the same time, you kind of go "
...more
Sarah Rosenberger
Strange Happenings by Avi was definetally a good quick read. Avi's style is always enjoyable for me ever since I have read this book. Being my first Avi book, I wasn't sure what to expect at first. It didn't take long before Avi's mysterious and sometimes disturbing stories drew me in. This was a nice book to read in a night and only takes a couple hours. Very enjoyable and an easy read for children.
Audrey
Avi has written five stories focused on the theme of “transformation.” In one a bored boy trades places with a cat, in another a princess is born invisible and must find pieces of herself to become somebody, and in yet another a sneaky shoemaker must find out the hard way why the devil is sometimes called “Old Scratch.” These strange tales are surprisingly well-written, and are what writers like R.L. Stine should aspire toward in their own work.
Christy
Children become cats and birds, a once-invisible young woman pieces herself back together, and the identity of a mysterious baseball mascot is uncovered--all within this eclectic collection from master storyteller Avi. By turns chilling, ethereal, and surreal, these thought-provoking tales are sure to engage anyone who has ever wondered what it would be like to become someone--or something--else.
Trin
Jun 03, 2007 Trin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Bleh. "Five tales that explore the possibilities of transformation"—an appealing concept, but with rather dull results. There's just nothing new here—nothing you couldn't get from reading a half dozen random fairy tales, and I would have felt that way even when I was ages 10-12. I feel bored again just talking about it.
miranda melton
Jan 08, 2012 miranda melton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this book has some myseriuos stores in it[more than one].
one story had a boy in it and he saw this giant pink blob,that looked all slimy and grose,was coming out of the sewer.[i dont really want to spooal anything.one other story had shapeshifters,[i thought that one was my fav.].i really liked this book.
Rachel
Aug 07, 2012 Rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My favorite was the one entitled Curious. All the others had a moral or were predictable for me but that one really surprised me and made me laugh. It was still predictable but was my favorite over the cat/boy thing, the invisible princess, the bird/man story, or the devil/old shoemaker one (probably my least favorite)
Dolly
This is a strange, often spooky collection of five short stories about transformation. The stories are short and the topics are varied.

I think that this is a great book for middle grade readers, who may be drawn by supernatural or haunting tales. Our oldest borrowed this book from her elementary school library and I read it just before she had to return it.

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Avi is a pen name for Edward Irving Wortis, but he says, "The fact is, Avi is the only name I use." Born in 1937, Avi has created many fictional favorites such as The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Nothing but the Truth, and the Crispin series. His work is popular among readers young and old.
More about Avi...

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