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Some might say that Impy and his friends are pests-they're young cockroaches after all. And, despite entreaties from elder roaches to keep out of "adult" concerns, Impy just can't help but butt in. So when the roaches' home-a beloved but run-down jazz joint-is threatened with financial ruin, Impy must meddle. It's a lucky thing he does, because little ol' Impy-aka Impetuous R, secret agent-may just hold the key to saving the home of his whole colony! Not only that, but he may help preserve a cultural landmark in the process.
In a quaint little jazz club somewhere in Baltimore a group of little critters is up to a whole lot more than their human hosts could possibly imagine.
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Grade 4–6—The cockroach clans have always felt at home at Pop's Corner. The venerable jazz venue has plenty of dark hiding places, an abundant food supply, and, best of all, no health inspectors. But now the elderly owner is heavily in debt and the club faces foreclosure. He refuses to tell his family, not wanting to worry them. The Elder Roach Council mobilizes for action, calling on the worldwide roach society for financial help. Meanwhile, young Impetuous (Impy) and his friends resolve to save their home. They hatch a plan that involves dropping hints to the humans and requires the help of the old man's grandkids—and several grateful jazz artists who got their start at Pop's—but can they pull it together in time? The idea of a secret cockroach civilization is amusing, particularly the contention that most human art and science originated with the insects. Although Impy gets title billing, the perspective shifts among various bug and human characters. While the multiple viewpoints can be distracting, they also allow considerable insight into the emotions and motivations of the peripheral characters, especially Pop himself. The black-and-white illustrations—full-page and vignette—present an engaging bug's-eye view of the action and help to "humanize" the insect characters. An acceptable choice for animal fantasy fans.—Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL
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Conly’s nimble storytelling and sophisticated humor hold aloft a cast of characters that includes anthropomorphic cockroaches, and credible human children and adults. Impy—as the titular character is known—is one of three cockroach kids who discover that the jazz club they call home is threatened by foreclosure. They, along with the grandson of the club’s owner, work to find the cash to keep the club open and their home intact. Brief chapters and the never-lagging pace will hold young readers’ attentions, but many of the philosophical and historical jokes will fly over their heads. For that reason, this book is probably best suited for dedicated bookworms who may learn an early thing or two about the relationship between Socratic and Aristotelian philosophy or the dynamics of personal finance. A good secondary audience for this one would be slightly older readers looking for a well-told tale with high humor and mild suspense. Grades 4-6. --Francisca Goldsmith
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