Saturday, June 15, 2013
Saturday Morning Cartoons
Greenwald, Tommy. Charlie Joe Jackson's Summer Vacation.
7 May 2013, Roaring Brook Press
Charlie has agreed to go to Camp Rituhbukkee (pronounced “read-a-bookie”) to make his parents happy. Camp is three weeks long and involves writing home, no electronics, and a ton of workshops on reading and writing. Luckily, one of his best friends from home, Katie, is at the camp, as is Naheem, who also goes to his school. The rest of the campers are relentlessly nerdy, and Charlie Joe immediately sets himself apart, annoying the camp director, Dr. Mal. Since he knows that getting kicked out of the camp would NOT make his parents happy, Charlie tries to fit in as much as he can, even using the skills he has at basketball to help the Rituhbukkee team when they play against Camp Wockajocka (aka Camp Jockstrap). He even reads books that Ms. Domerca, one of the teachers, recommends to him, and uses a book about Lech Walesa as a basis for a protest against losing swimming time to more workshop time. Charlie is upset to find that his sort of girlfriend, Zoe, may be moving back with her father, and he's less than excited to go on the camp overnight to the Little Yellow Schoolhouse. When he finds out that Lauren has been doing her boyfriend Jared's work for camp, but that she is tired of doing it, he finds a way to help her out in true, over-the-top Charlie Joe fashion.
Strengths: Ah, summer camp. The next best thing to going is reading about it. And camp romance? Even better. Even though Charlie doesn't have a girl of his own at camp, he is a regular Romeo among that geeks in his cabin, so he gets to give lots of advice. Don't know how I would have felt about being kissed by a boy chewing bubblegum when I was 12, but reading about it was hysterical. I adore J.P. Coovert's illustrations, and they really do draw reluctant readers into the books. As one student said to me "That was a trick! That was the longest book I've ever read!" With this third book, it's officially a series, and I couldn't be happier with it. Hooray!
Weaknesses: As much as I liked reading about his struggles with whether or not he might actually like being a geek, Charlie HAS to stay as he is! He getting soft in his old age, and I'd hate to see him completely change. The students adore him just the way he is in the first book!
Kowitt, Holly. The Loser List: The Jinx of the Loser.
30 April 2013, Scholastic
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Danny ends up at the Woodchucks big baseball game because a girl he likes, Asia, offers him tickets. He manages to interfer with a catch Luke needs to make, and the Woodchucks lost the championship. Everyone in school is calling him a jinx, and things go from bad to worse. On a trip to an amusement park, the best roller coaster breaks down... while Danny is on it. Sprinklers go off in the gym on school picture day, and everyone looks horrible. Danny just can't catch a break.
Strengths: This was a quick read, with hand drawn font and lots of pictures. Students love this sort of thing, and the message was solid.
Weaknesses: So tired of the horrible Scholastic paper-over-boards binding. These books get a lot of wear, and they fall apart so quickly.
Paulsen, Gary. Vote.
14 May 2013, Wendy Lamb Books
I loved the first three in this series, and will certainly buy this one, since it was funny and short, but the whole school election thing always falls flat for me.
From the Publisher:
"The companion to Liar liar; Flat broke; and Crush"--Front cover. Fourteen-year-old Kevin impetuously announces that he will run for student body president, mainly to impress his girlfriend Tina, but soon gets excited about making a positive difference in his school and community."