The Dunderheads (Hardcover)

By Paul Fleischman, David Roberts (Illustrator)

Candlewick, 9780763624989, 56pp.

Publication Date: June 9, 2009

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (2/14/2012)
Prebound (2/14/2012)
Prebound (2/14/2012)
Hardcover, Spanish (11/15/2017)

List Price: 16.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Dunderheads, unite! A tyrannical teacher gets her just due in a delightfully subversive, outrageously funny tale by Newbery Medal winner Paul Fleischman.

Miss Breakbone hates kids. Especially the time-squandering, mindwandering, doodling, dozing dunderheads in her class. But when she confiscates Junkyard’s crucial find, she finally goes too far. Enter Wheels (and his souped-up bike with forty-eight extra gears), Pencil (who can draw anything from memory), Spider (look up and you’ll find him), and their fellow misfits in a spectacular display of teamwork aimed at teaching Miss Breakbone a lesson she won’t soon forget. From the incomparable Paul Fleischman comes a winning cast of underdogs — and one of the most terrifying teachers you’ll ever meet — brought to vivid life in David Roberts’s quirky, hilarious illustrations.

About the Author

Paul Fleischman won the Newbery Medal for JOYFUL NOISE: POEMS FOR TWO VOICES and a Newbery Honor for GRAVEN IMAGES. Among his award-winning picture books are SIDEWALK CIRCUS, THE ANIMAL HEDGE, and WESTLANDIA. He lives in Aromas, California.

David Roberts is the author-illustrator of the Bertie books and the illustrator of many books for children, including THE DUMPSTER DIVER by Janet S. Wong. He lives in London.

Praise For The Dunderheads

Just the right note of dastardly charm. Schoolchildren will adore this story of pupil revenge.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

A celebration of multiple intelligences, teamwork, and kid power.
—School Library Journal (starred review)

The setup is witty and subversive, and the book then springs into a classic caper plot, with each kid in the gang offering a bizarre skill.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)

Roberts caricatures the formidable teacher and the amiably wide-eyed kids with a witty, agile pen and judicious splashes of color, an excellent foil for Fleishman’s terse and comical private eye send-up. With action galore, a villain foiled by clever kids, a laugh a minute, a profusion of illustrations with broad age appeal, and an easily read text, this is a winner.
—The Horn Book

You can almost hear the Pink Panther theam thrumming in the background... A fun stick-it-to-teacher romp with no redeeming message but cleverness in spades.

Deliciously outlandish, featuring an undercover caper complete with a hidden safe, grappling hooks made of paperclips, a classmate who just happens to be a hypnotist and a broken statuette with (real) emerald eyes.
—Kirkus Reviews

Self-affirming. As a whole, the class is a bunch of ‘twiddling, time-squandering, mind-wandering, doodling, dozing, don’t knowing dunderheads.’ Taken singly and placed to their best advantage the students are, of course, geniuses. The illustrations by David Roberts are hilarious scary and fabulously imagined.

Young gumshoes and budding secret agents will love the laughs and suspense… distinct personalities and unique talents of each student all but guarantee that this memorable pack will amuse both children and adults.
—Shelftalker blog

You’ll be hoping to see more of this strange but appealing crew.
—Cookie magazine

Completely entertaining and perfectly packaged.

Rollicking, funny and clever.
—Journal Inquirer

A wildly funny story with equally hilarious illustrations.
—Kendal A. Rautzhan

Told with wacky humor and madcap illustrations, and will appeal most to young independent readers who can savor on their own the children’s triumph over their wicked teacher.

The tone of this story is reminiscent of a hard-boiled detective novel, a wonderful stylistic quality….Miss Breakbone is a delicious villain, one that could have easily stepped out of a Road Dahl book.
—Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog (SLJ)