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Strange Happenings: Five Tales of Transformation
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Strange Happenings: Five Tales of Transformation

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  471 ratings  ·  78 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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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.
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!
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.
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!!!!
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
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
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
Smile!  :D
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.
Amanda Lyons
Fun, simple retellings of older parables. Good stuff for the 8-12 group.
Monica Lopez
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.
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.
Oct 24, 2007 Jen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Avi fans
This book was enjoyable to read, but the stories were fairly predictable.
It's so interesting! A bit creepy, but I like that in books :)
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 "
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
There are 5 stories in this collection. I found the first, Bored Tom, predictable at best. Babette the Beautiful was the shining star of this collection--had every story been like this one, I would have given the collection 5 stars. Curious was disturbing. The Shoemaker and Old Scratch was weird and pointless. Simon was a good story that harkened to fairy tales of old.
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 still has a $15 sticke
Allison M.
Even though this book was very strange, I loved all of the lessons learned by the different characters. While this book had some very unrealistic concepts, such as talking cats/birds and invisible girls, Avi made it seem very realistic and it was a very fun read.
Nicholas Siebers
Interesting stories. Not easy to anticipate the endings. A little creepy, but my 7 year old daughter liked them a lot. Not always happy endings.
I would hope parents would hesitate to allow their children to read this even though the age ranges were early elementary school.
Interesting, quick read. The short stories are told like fables. Fun and weird but may not appeal to everyone.
Hardly creepy but interesting book, mystery and a book I enjoyed very much
Interesting children's stories around changes/metamorphosis
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.
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.
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.
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.

I have only read a little Avi (The Book Without Words) but I liked it very much. This is a collection of "fairy" tales (no fairies involved, actually) and they are clever, but short and Avi has not developed his characters like he did in Words. I think it is good for its age group of 8 to 12, but I will find a full length novel for my next Avi.
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)
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.
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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 very much desired by readers young and old.
More about Avi...
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle Crispin: The Cross of Lead (Crispin #1) Nothing But the Truth Poppy (Tales of Dimwood Forest, #1) The Seer of Shadows

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