Monday, November 03, 2014

MMGM- Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Making Money

If you're not familiar with Charlie Joe, you should be. He is the marvelous main character of the eponymous Guide to Not Reading, Guide to Extra Credit, and Guide to Summer Vacation.He has also been the celebrity sponsor of our Guys Read Pink celebration in February, so he's near and dear to my heart. This book took so long to review because I had to wait until a student returned one too late in the day for someone else to check out!

18465569Greenwald, Tommy. Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Making Money
August 26th 2014 by Roaring Brook Press

Charlie (with the help of his friend Katie) writes about his attempts to make money, initially so he can buy the latest hot gadget-- a Botman. He attempts to run a dog walking business, which ends poorly, and  goes to his father's law office, which at least does not end with his mother having to get gopher pee removed from the seats of the car. When his friend Jake has a bar mitzvah and Zoe is there, his focus in fund raising changes-- he wants to be able to go visit her when she moves to Ohio, because she mentions that she might want to kiss Charlie. Charlie comes up with the marvelous idea that he will throw his own coming of age celebration, based on an Ethiopian tradition of jumping over a cow. As with all things Charlie, things work well... until they don't.
Strengths: This is my favorite book in the series so far. Somehow, the unlikely plot really works well, and Charlie's adventures are hysterical. The relationship between middle school boys and girls is brilliantly portrayed, and there are just enough pictures in the book that reluctant readers can be tricked into thinking this is a notebook novel.
Weaknesses: The copies I ordered came in that horrible paper-over-board binding. Drat! I don't know if that's just Baker and Taylor, but I would much prefer the dust jacketed version, which hold up much better in my library.

20518965McDonough, Yona Zeldis. Little Author in the Big Woods: A Biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder  
September 16th 2014 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

This short (152 pages, with notes) biography is a great overview of the author's life, and does a good job of addressing, in a simple way, some of the slight differences between what she actually did and how she chose to write about it. Even the rumors about Rose Wilder Lane's role in the books publication is briefly addressed. This is one author who has really fallen out of favor in my school, and since she was a favorite of mine, this is really a surprise. Maybe this book will entice readers to pick up the series. My one pet peeve about any biography is a lack of actual photographs when they exist-- the illustrations by Jennifer Thermes are eerily evocative of Garth Williams' work, but photos would have been much better. I know there is probably a permission/cost issue, but the book would have been so much better with them.



It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday

12 comments:

Greg Pattridge said...

I'm looking forward to revisiting Charlie Joe in this newest. Sounds like a fun ride like the others. Can't wait to tell my reluctant readers – the same ones who enjoyed this series enough to actually talk about it.

Joanne R. Fritz said...

I've heard of Charlie Joe but have yet to read any of the books. They do sound like fun, though. And that bio of Laura Ingalls Wilder has been getting some buzz. I'm surprised to learn that she's fallen out of favor among the kids in your school. Too old-fashioned?

Tara Smith said...

The Greenwald series sounds like fun - so many middle school themes.

Rosi said...

Charlie Joe sounds like an interesting character. I haven't read any of the books, so will take a look. I am anxious to read Little Author in the Big Woods. I am a huge fan of all of Wilder's book and hope to read this bio soon. Thanks for the reviews.

Michael G-G said...

Okay, I'm going to give Charlie Joe another try on your say-so. I think I found him a little too self-aware in book one--but these books are sure popular. To the TBR pile I go!

LInda Baie said...

Thanks for the intro to Charlie-do not know those books, & your thoughts about the Wilder books. I hope that some get interested again. Have you seen that Melissa Gilbert has published a memoir/cookbook about her time on the tv show, & about the Wilder stories? It sounds good, too.

maria.selke said...

I haven't read any Charlie Joe myself - but I loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder biography! I'm also eager to read the more adult targeted one that is coming out soon.

Kay said...

I loved the first Charlie Joe Jackson book, but I have not been keeping up. It looks like Charlie and I have some catching up to do.

Gail Gauthier said...

Like Kay, I liked the first Charlie Joe book very much, but never moved on. I'll make a bigger effort.

Elisabeth Ellington said...

I really want to read the Laura Ingalls Wilder bio. She was one of my favorite authors as a child too, and every so often, I reread the series in whole or part, but wow, the racism really gets to me now. Amazing how I "overlooked" it as a child reader.

Iron Guy Carl said...

Well, with all these recommendations for Charlie Joe, maybe the iron Guy should look into them. Maybe for 2015. And it's a shame Laura Ingalls Wilder has fallen out of fashion--we need to hear the voices from a simpler time.

Myra Garces Bacsal said...

I am intrigued by the Laura Ingalls Wilder biography - loved her books when I was a child and I read them to my daughter when she was a toddler. She enjoyed it then, but she doesn't seem particularly interested to read them now that she's 12. We do own the series, and I'm hoping she'd pick them up soon enough. :)

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