- The Washington Times - Friday, May 25, 2007

By Felix Van der Vaart, age 14

Home-schooled, Annandale

It was noon when I picked up the book and 3 p.m. when I checked the time again. I could not put the book down.

“Best Shorts: Favorite Short Stories for Sharing,” compiled by Avi (the pen name of Avi Wortis), is a fantastic collection of short stories. Inside it, you will find drama, history, comedy, tragedy, sci-fi, and even action-packed stories.

The book starts off with a bang in a story about a brother and sister who are in a boat when a tsunami comes up behind them and flips the boat upside down, leaving no open passage for the girl to escape.

With the exception of one story (“The Caller”) that whirlwind never stops. Page after page, the book is full of well-written literature and clever stories.

My personal favorite was a short story written by Avi, named “Scout’s Honor.” It is about a little boy about 10 years old (Avi) who grew up in Brooklyn. With the goal of surpassing Tenderfoot rank, he decides he must do an overnight camping trip. With him come two wild and wacky friends, Max and Horse.

Always prepared, just as a Scout should be, young Avi brings along a blanket, some food, a vitally important Marvel comic book and an umbrella; his friends bring along ridiculous things. Horse brings his own mattress and four cans of beans without a can opener. Max brings a packet of frankfurters; mustard; celery; soda; saltine crackers; a compass that helpfully always points north; and a blunt, rusty hatchet “to build a lean-to.”

They get to their campsite, drenched with rain, and from there, it is utter chaos.

I grinned through the entire story.

Each story was surprising and none had a predictable “Hollywood” ending. This book is great for all ages and is a great bedtime storybook and a good book for those who don’t have a lot of time for recreational reading.

I hope you will take a taste of this smorgasbord, and just remember that when it’s raining, you probably don’t want to go camping.

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