Saturday, November 24, 2007

If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period by Gennifer Choldenko

This new book by the author of Al Capone Does My Shirts is about two kids, Walker and Kirsten, who go to middle school together. Walker, a bright, black boy, has gotten a scholarship to transfer to Kristen's all-white private school from an inner city school. His very strict mother has dreams for him, and knows that this new school will keep him on the right path. But how will this boy who can handle most situations with ease deal with news that will rock his world? Kirsten's friends don't act like real friends, her parents constantly fight, and her summer weight gain leaves her feeling fat. Will Walker and Kirsten's friendship help them through their tough times? The beginning of this book reminded me of the movie "Mean Girls," but then the story took some unpredictable twists and turns that made it a great read. Review by Joyce Levine

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ellie McDoodle: Have Pen, Will Travel

Ellie McDoodle loves to doodle and write in her journal, and we can enjoy all of her fun stories and drawings as she takes her journal with her camping. Ellie loves camping when it's with her family, but this time it's with her aunt who spits when she talks, her undle whose neck turns red when he gets angry, and her monster cousins. On top of all that, they don't even camp in tents! How will Ellie survive the week? I really enjoyed reading this book/journal and learning how Ellie gets through the week (and even enjoys it). This book reminded me of Diary of a Wimpy Kid because of the sly humor and funny pictures, so if you like Ellie McDoodle, try Diary of a Wimpy Kid next! Review by Joyce Levine

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt

The Wednesday Wars is the new book by the author of one of my other favorite books First Boy. The main character is Holling Hoodhood (I'm not sure I believe someone would really be named that, but it does make for some hilarious moments), and the time is 1967. Holling is off to a bad start with his new teacher, Mrs. Baker, for no reason other than that he is the only kid who doesn't leave early on Wednesday afternoons, and so Mrs. Baker has to stay with him and think up things to keep him busy. She gives him lots of unpleasant chores to do, including cleaning out the rats' cage - which leads to a very funny ongoing situation when the rats escape into the ceiling and terrorize the students for the rest of the book - until she decides to have Holling read Shakespeare. Not only read the plays, but take tests on them and recite scenes. This is a great book with great characters. The Vietnam War serves as a backdrop to what is going on in Holling's life. Review by Stacy Church