Saturday, June 16, 2012

Saturday Cartoons

Fearing, Mark. Earthling.
20 June 2012, Chronicle Books
Bud is not happy that he has to move with his scientist father out into the desert, but he doesn't have much time to worry about it. The first time he tries to catch the school bus, he is instead picked up by an intergalactic transport to Cosmos Acadamy. Luckily, he meets the friend Gort who assumes he is a Tenerian exchange student, which is good, because Earthlings are feared and hated. Bud settles into school and life with Bud's family, but there are quite a few wrinkles. Tenarian's are great athletes, so Bud is pressed into helping make the ZeroBall team better, even though he is not very good at sports. There are some students who give him a hard time, and Bud and Gort have a lot of trouble figuring how they will get Bud home. They also have to deal with evil administrators!
Strengths: Even though this had some goofy moments, it never stepped over the Pilkey Line. I think middle school students who like graphic novels will adore this one AND it could be used for their language arts assignment on science fiction, since there really is a good story to it.
Weaknesses: Felt as if I were missing something with the storyline of Bud's mother dying; maybe there is a sequel in the offing? That would also make the rather abrupt ending better as well.

Shelton, Dave. A Boy and a Bear in a Boat.
12 June 2012, Random House
A boy approaches a bear in a boat and asks how long it will take to get "just to the other side". Well, apparently longer than a three-hour tour, because the bear runs into "unforseen anomalies". The duo drift for days and days, subsisting on bizarre sandwiches and, since this is a British author, tea. They run into storms and giant sea monsters, have to catch fish, and end up on a weirdly antique ship after their smaller boat floats away. When that, too, is destroyed, the two sail off into the sunset with the boy using the bear as a boat.
Strengths: Rather cute in a Paddington Bear sort of way, with illustrations by the author.
Weaknesses: When I looked at the reviews on Goodreads, I was very surprised how much everyone seemed to like this. It just left me shaking my head. There was no point. We have no motivation for the boy to get on the boat with the bear (it's a tiny bit creepy, really), and there is no conclusion. Maybe this is something for much younger children, or British children, and I just didn't get it.


CLM said...

Earthling sounds perfect for my nephew who refuses to read anything but Rick Riordan, again and again...

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