Saturday, June 30, 2012
Mind if I Read Your Mind?
1 July 2012, Scholastic
In this sequel to Zero to Hero (1 January 2012, Scholastic), Billy Brocolli and his ghost friend, Hoover Porterhouse have sucessfully contained Rod Brownstone, the bully who was bothering Billy in the first book, but are faced with another challenge. Billy's class is having a Speak Out Challenge (SOC) and the students need to give speeches about how to do something. Billy feels that he has no talents, other than reciting the alphabet backwards, but Hoove has a great idea; since only Billy can since the ghost, Hoove can gather information from the audience and relay it to Billy, who can then pretend to "read" someone's mind. This works well if Hoove shows up, but since he is doing so poorly on the "Helping Others" section of his report card for the Higher Ups that he may never be able to stop haunting Billy's house, Billy can't really count on him. Hoove desperately wants to be free of the bonds that tie him to Billy's neighborhood, which was the site of his family's ranch almost 100 years ago, so that he can visit baseball parks. When Billy is invited to Dodger stadium by a SOC teammate and goes even though Hoove can't, the ghost is distressed. Billy, afraid that Hoove won't show up to help him with his speech, has to decide how to best complete the competition.
While this book lacks the frenetic energy of the Hank Zipzer series, it would be a good choice for elementary readers who like humorous school stories, although the plot is occasionally slowed down by extraneous scenes, like Hoove causing the washing machine to flood the basement with bubbles, that are not as funny as they could be.