Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Jeremy Bender vs. The Cupcake Cadets

Luper, Eric. Jeremy Bender vs. the Cupcake Cadets
Nominated for the Cybils by Marjorie Light.

Jeremy and his friend Slater are typical 6th graders. They have their likes (working with Jeremy's dad's vintage boat) and their dislikes (Paul, the school bully), and are trying to survive the best they can. When they accidentally damage the boat, they try to find a way to come up with the money for repairs. Happening upon a sign for a model boat race, they figure that they are sure to win the $500, but there is one catch-- they have to become Cupcake Cadets in order to do it. They come up with credible disguises as girls (something which would not be too hard for a 6th grade boy to do; all it took for my son to be mistaken for a girl was long hair!) and find that being a cadet is a LOT harder than they thought. In order to even enter the boat competition, they have to earn three merit badges, sell a certain amount of cupcakes, and get along with the other cadets... none of which are as easy as they anticipate. They make an arch enemy whom they have to convince not to out them, and gain a new appreciation for girls, in more ways than one!


Strengths: In addition to being highly amusing (in the way that Project Sweet Life was), this was actually a very good book for both girls and boys about the different strengths and weaknesses of each sex. The incidental characters, such as the children's librarian and the scout leader (who is specifically described as keeping her maiden name! Whoo!) are engaging, and the incidents all fall within the realm of believability. Since personal identity is such a big concern for students this age, these gender "benders" will appeal to many students.



Weaknesses: Character development is there but could have been a bit stronger, and the ending is a little too easy. Also felt sorry for the villianized reference librarians and did not believe that the soccer coach would turn a blind eye to bullying.


See? If you put 6th grade Surly Teen Boy in a Cupcake Cadet uniform and tam, he could easily pass as a girl.

1 comments:

Katie said...

Thanks for entering my giveaway!

I read this book recently as well, and I have to say I loved the reference librarian/children's librarian rivalry. It mirrors some situations I've found myself in as a children's librarian! And I didn't catch that detail about the maiden name - nice observation!

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