Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Maggie Bean in Love

One of my student's loved Tricia Rayburn's Maggie Bean series so much that when she found out I wasn't getting the last book until August, she bought it and donated it to the library! This sequel to The Melting of Maggie Bean and Maggie Bean Stays Afloat was every bit as amusing as the first two. Maggie and Arnie are now " a couple" after being friends for a long time. They also work together in "Patrol This" the weight loss group for young kids. Maggie, always a perfectionist with her school work, is struggling to balance everything in her life, and when she finds out that the swim team might be cut (in favor of the evil Water Wings group!) because of the school budget, she is even more stressed out. She and Arnie go on several dates, none of which go well because both are trying so hard. Will Maggie be able to figure out how to balance all of her commitments and figure out a place for Arnie in her life?

As always, some parts of this were cringe inducing to read, but I really like Maggie and how she has developed. The romance in this was really very different from anything I have read, but was very satisfying and realistic. Why these are in paperback I have no idea. It is a true disservice to a wonderful series. Excellent for middle school girls who want something a little sad but ultimately happy.

Trudi Trueit's Secrets of a Lab Rat: No Girls Allowed was great fun, and I would highly recommend it for an elementary library, although it was a bit young for middle school. Scab is desperate to get a dog, and tries to earn money by selling his most successful invention-- a stink spray made in his mother's blender out of all manner of disgusting things, including dog poop! However, he runs afoul of his twin sister, his best friends, and gets in trouble in school, making him wonder if it's all worth it. There are a lot of laugh out loud lines in this, and my children would have adored this in first grade. There is a sequel out, Mom, There's A Dinosaur in Benson's Lake, and a Julep O'Toole series that I will definitely have to find. This author sounded familiar, because I have some of her nonfiction works. It's good to see her make the switch to fiction, because she certainly has a way with words.

I couldn't get into 4 Kids in 5E and 1 Crazy Year. It was from the point of view of quite a number of culturally diverse students in a crowded New York City School, and the tone became rather didactic as we follow this group of lower achieving students as they become inspired by their new teacher to read and write. Combined with an oddly 90s cover, this made for a book I'll have to pass.

The biggest disappointment was Kate Brian's Ex-mas. I normally LURVE all of her books (Fake Boyfriend, Lucky T, The Princess and the Pauper, Sweet 16, and, as Kieran Scott, Jingle Boy, Geek Magnet, and the Nonblonde Cheerleader series) but this book, which I had sent from the Cuyahoga County Public Library, was too filled with fashion designer name dropping and didn't intrigue me at all. Really, I am shocked. I had saved this as a treat!

Geek Magnet actually came up last night at dinner, when my children and I had a spirited discussion on romance books for boys and decided that I should start a stealth project to get boys to read humor books aimed at girls (like Geek Magnet). My son asked my older daughter what most "girl" romance books are about, and she said "Well, usually an average girl has a huge crush on a really hot guy, pursues him, goes on one date with him, and finds out that he is really boring and decides she really likes her best guy friend." My son replied that that was pretty much the plot of "boy" books, too. I may need to go put some of the books in brown covers, but it's worth a shot!


  1. Darn! I've got Ex-Mas on my TBR pile and was looking forward to it. Thanks for the recommendation of the Maggie Bean books I put them on my next order for my K-5 Media Center. They sound good.

  2. Secrets of a lab rat is very popular here, but yes definitely for younger elementary.

    Ha! You have reminded me that I was going to do a don't judge a book by it's cover display. I was thinking of doing boring old library bound books, but I like the brown paper idea even more...

  3. Secrets of a Lab Rat is a super-cute read but, yes, too young for middle school. But I loved Trudi's JULEP books, which are perhaps better for the middle grades (: And poo about Ex-Mas. I was looking forward to reading it.

  4. Aw, I loved Geek Magnet! Such a fun book, and the geeks were really annoying, not just "oh, he wears glasses so he's a geek and thus beneath me."