Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Too young, too old

It's been a long time since I read the Ron Roy A to Z Mysteries (I think he was only up to 'N'), but my children enjoyed them when they were in the second grade or so. I looked into the Capitol Mysteries because I thought there might be some information on D.C. that might appeal to older students who are struggling with reading. There was a bit, but I think I'll pass, mainly because of the covers. They would be a hard sell in middle school. I imagine every elementary library in the world has these titles, though. My children loved anything in a series and would read one a day. Tracking down all 54 Animorphs books was a challenge!

Had to read a Melvin Beederman book (by Greg Trine) after seeing te title of the newest one: The Brotherhood of the Traveling Underpants. No denying the appeal of underwear to goofy middle school boys. I read Teror in Tights, and while amusing, it's much too young. It had the same heavy lined drawing style as the Franny K. Stein books and will appeal to the same audience. There would be a few boys who picked this up, but they will have to be placated with Dav Pilkey for now. Terror in Tights did have one disturbing part-- a girl's dog died, and she was sad for chapters, but the end has a "funny" song about the dog being run over. As I adore my own dog, I couldn't take that!

Lisa Papdemetriou writes such a wide variety of books. She came to my attention with an ARC of Sixth-grade glommers, norks, and me, which I lied well enough to buy in hard back. While I didn't buy The wizard, the witch, & two girls from Jersey, it was fun, and my daughter and her friend loved it. Her Candy Apple books circulate well, and she aslo writes a number of novelizations. Drop is definitely a stab at Literature, but I won't be buying it because of the explosion of foul language after page 111. It's too bad, because after the first chapter I was really drawn in by the quirky characters, and I usually hate quirky.
Sanjay, Kat, and Jerrica all have problems. Sanjay is tired of working in his family's grocery store in Las Vegas, and tries to make some money by 'borrowing' from the till and gambling. Kat's mother, a compulsive gambler, is in jail because she ran down a man when she was drunk. Kat is dating a drug dealer. Jerrica is pretty happy with her stepmother but has a lot of anxiety issues in addition to her impressive math skills. When the three try to use Jerrica's probability abilities to rig card games, things spiral out of control. A slim volume, this would be fine in a high school library and would probably do well with reluctant readers. I will keep looking at the offerings from this author.

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