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Reviews:
City Colors by Zoran Milich
Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
Dazzle Joins the Screenwriter's Guild by Scott Bradfield
December 22, 2012 by Sophie M. White
For the Love of Books by Ronald B. Shwartz
The Free Fall of Walter Cummings by Tom Bodett
Genuine Men by Nancy Bruno
Going Back in Time by Laurel Winter
Hold Me Tight by Dr. Sue Johnson
Horns and Toes and In Between by Sandra Boynton
The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club
A Jolly Good Fellow by Stephen V. Masse
Lion's Pride by Debbie Jordan
Killing Time by Caleb Carr
The Mark of Zorro by Johston McCulley
Mouse's Halloween by Alan Baker
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates by Stephen King
Past Perfect Present Tense by Richard Peck
Pharmakon by Dirk Wittenborn
Private Eye by Terry Bisson
Pug Hill by Allison Pace
Queen for a Day by Albert E. Cowdrey
Red Orc's Rage by Philip José Farmer
Sea Glass by Laurence Yep
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Sheep on a Ship by Nancy E. Shaw
Sheep Take a Hike by Nancy E. Shaw
Sleepless Years by Steven Utley
Turtle Moon by Alice Hoffman
The Visionaries by Robert Reed
Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster
Whoever by Carol Emshwiller

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5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Comments for Past Perfect Present Tense

Past Perfect Present TensePast Perfect Present Tense: 10/29/08

Past Perfect Present Tense is a collection of short stories by Richard Peck for tween readers. Some of the stories are reprints and some were newly written for this collection. The book ends with two how-to essays to encourage creative writing while giving practical advice.

Most of the stories have a supernatural or surreal twist to them. Sometimes the twist is only just a tiny hint at the end of an otherwise ordinary but well written story. For instance in "Priscilla and the Wimps" (1984) the male protagonist recounts how his school was run by Monk Clutter, the school bully. His career comes to an end with the help of an unlikely heroine, Priscilla.

At the other extreme, there are the ghost stories like "Girl at the Window" and "The Most Important Night of Melanie's Life." Both of these are in the vein of The Twilight Zone, with hints dropped throughout for observant readers. These two were my favorite of Past Perfect Present Tense.

Sometimes Peck plays with unexpected characters or unusual points of view. The best examples of this type of story are "Fluffy the Gangbuster" and "The Kiss in the Carry-on Bag." Of those two, I prefer "The Kiss" where the fish out of water is a prince playing hooky from his royal family. "Fluffy", a tale of a tough cat was too much like trying to read a plot into those dogs playing poker paintings.

Richard Peck includes short explanations to about half of his stories in Past Perfect Present Tense. Most of these introductions come with the reprinted stories. They help to give insight into his creative process and to the ways in which his style has evolved over time.

The stories in here are:

  • Priscilla and the Wimps
  • The Electric Summer
  • The Special Powers of Blossom Gulp
  • By Far the Worst Pupil at Long Point School
  • Girl at the Window
  • The Most Important Night of Melanie's Life
  • Waiting for Sebastian
  • Shadows
  • Fluffy the Gangbuster
  • I Go Along
  • The Kiss in the Carry-on Bag
  • The Three-Century Woman

The stories in here are:

  • How to Write a Short Story
  • Five Helpful Hints

Read another review at Read, Read, Read.

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