Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Andrew Clements' Things Not Seen

One morning, Bobby wakes up and can't see himself. He's not blind-- he's invisible. His parents don't seem to care, and when they are involved in a car accident and hospitalized, Bobby must get along on his own. He meets Alicia at the library, and she befriends him because she can't see anything at all and can't tell at first that he's invisible. I thought it would be horrible.

The only problem with this book is that it is one that sort of defies a convincing description. I really enjoyed it-- the details are spot on, the explanations don't stretch credulity too far, and the reaction of the parents is one with which many students will identify-- no, no, I'm sure it's a big problem for you, but really, it's best if we keep it a secret. We're working on it. These things just take time. Verging on the hilarious when it's something as serious as invisibility, but parents do that all the time with things that are important to children but seemingly inconsequential to the parents.

Bobby is 15, which makes it more believable that he's wandering about Boston by himself, but nothing in this book is inappropriate for younger students who are fans of Clements' other works. I put it on the table for my 4th grade reluctant reader, and it was gone this morning. It will appeal most to middle school students who are starting to find their parents annoying!

Also read Cecil Castelucci's The Plain Janes. If you desperately need graphic novels in your collection, this one has nothing objectionable, but I don't know that the plot really has anything to recommend it. Girl, traumatized by bombing in big city, moves to small town and wants to join a group of unpopular students even though the popular students court her. She then embarks on a plan to install art all over town. I'm trying to think who would ask for it. It might be more successful in high school, with students who are serious about art.

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