24 September 2013, Roaring Brook Press
It's bad enough that Jack plays on a baseball team and plays cello. When junior EMT training, Chinese lessons, and tennis get added to the mix, he feels overscheduled and just wants to sit on the couch and watch programs with his grandmother. Since he is still in middle school, he thinks his father is ridiculous to be worried about his college applications. He's not the only one; Lucy, a girl who is in orchestra with him, also has an overbearing parent who signs her up for too many things. When he feels too tired to go to practice one day, and his father won't let him miss it, Jack decides to go on strike. He refuses to go to activities, to school, or even to get off the couch until his father lets him drop some activities. After a friend's brother writes him up for the school newspaper, Jack is interviewed by a local television personality who wants to make him the focus of the show and put him up against the opinions of Lucy's mom. Jack doesn't want to spend his life on the couch, but needs to work on a good compromise with the help of his friends and family.
Strengths: A fun, quick read for boys, and one of only two books I know that address the topic over overscheduling actitivites (Calli Be Gold is the other). Jack's relationship with the grandmother is nice, and enjoyed the fact that he goes to the same school as Charlie Joe Jackson. This is sure to be a hit with the fans of this author's other work.
Weaknesses: I think that getting in to college is a bigger concern on the East coast. Ohio schools don't seem to be so rigorous in their demands, so I always have trouble connecting with this idea!
Here's the TRAILER for the book.
Kenney, Sean. Cool Creations in 35 Pieces.
10 September 2013, Henry Holt BYR
Copy received from Publisher.
This is one in a series of Lego books on a variety of topics. I liked that there were so many things that could be made out of a small number of pieces-- my son's Legos seemed so different from the ones I had. I had a box of basic pieces, but all of his seemed to come in very specific, geek-oriented kits. The only problem with this would be finding the 35 specific pieces, but once those were put together, I think this would be a great guide to have.