Thursday, October 11, 2007

Gutman, Cabot and Heldring

Have to classify Dan Gutman's Getting Air as a fantasy. Any child who does not like this is dead inside and I can't help. Four children going to see a skateboarding competition (oddly enough without parents) and a plane full of ladies going to a knitting convention are highjacked by terrorists of some unspecified fanatical religious bent. The children overcome the highjackers and crash the plane. They survive with the help of one of the ladies and the beautiful flight attendant. When they are rescued (after turning the wreckage into a half pipe), they find out the terrorists wanted to crash into the US Capitol building, so are rewarded with all sorts of product sponsorships and tv appearances.

Hoaky? Yes. Will the children love it? Yes. Even the cover is great! Mr. Gutman needs to drop whatever he is doing IMMEDIATELY and write a series of skateboarding books. Right now. I think I can trust him to go light on the moral lesson that most skateboarding books want to throw in.

Meg Cabot's Pants on Fire was okay. After a while, it started to remind me of How to be Popular. Good stuff, and I enjoyed it, but it was fluffier than usual. Luckily, even though much kissing was involved, it wasn't like Ready or Not, and I don't feel bad having it on the shelves. Note to publishers: Please stop putting pictures of girl's with bare stomachs on the covers. In 15 years it will just look stupid.

Newcover Thatcher Heldring has a strong start in Toby Wheeler, 8th Grade Benchwarmer. Almost perfect sports novel. Right length, action well-balanced with life problems, realistic rivalry, and even the triumphant ending was believable. I liked the idea of a self-proclaimed "gym rat" joining a team and having a few problems fitting in. Mr. Heldring, hurry up and write some more. Stick mainly to basketball and football, maybe some skateboarding. Feel free to follow Toby into high school. Perhaps Toby Wheeler, 9th Grade ...well, that shows you how little I know about sports. But it would be easy to tell students what was next in the series! There are never enough sports books for middle school boys!

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