Thursday, May 13, 2010

Roy Morelli Steps Up to the Plate

Heldring, Thatcher. Roy Morelli Steps Up to the Plate.
Like Toby Wheeler, Eighth Grade Benchwarmer, this is another great sports novel for the middle grades. Roy is looking forward to playing on an All-Star team and then moving on to high school, where he is positive his stellar baseball skills will translate into renown. Why should he be worried about history and his other subjects in school? Unfortunately, when he gets a D in history, his divorced parents decide that this translates into playing only on a rec team AND being tutored by his dad's teacher girlfriend. Roy's slacker ways in school also are not attractive to Valerie, the girl he likes, and his egotism manages to alienate his two best friends. Roy, like so many middle school students, has to learn to learn to rearrange his priorities in order to get what he really wants out of life.

My only objections with this book? It's way too close to the book I want to write for middle grade boys! That, and back when I reviewed Toby Wheeler, I did say that Mr. Heldring should stick to basketball and football, and he didn't listen. Write faster, Mr. Heldring!

Alman, Ann. Brave Deeds: How One Family Saved Many From the Nazis.
This slim volume, told from the point of view of a fictional Dutch child who is separated from parents and sent to live in the country with the Braal family, will be excellent for my 8th graders when they are studying the Holocaust next year. The Braals had dozens of people whom they hid from the Nazis, but the charming part of this book is the actual family photos of the family and the people they saved going about their every day lives. There are good illustrations about other war time minutiae that are wonderful as well. My only question with this is whether to shelve it in the corporate biographies, as Baker and Taylor has deemed fit, or to change it to fiction. It's an odd amalgam-- the family was real, but Alma has embellished details that she got from Mies Braal, who was a neighbor.

Stop the presses! It's MotherReader's Fifth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge! I have alerted the children that I am out of commission on June 4-6, have constructed a huge TBR pile, (because my Blendon library books will be going in boxes starting June 2!) and will do laundry, cooking, and cleaning ahead of time so that I can read. I do not forgo sleep, because sleep is about the best thing in the world at this time of year, and I may need to read and walk at the same time so I don't become woozy from inactivity like I did last year. This is always an awesome weekend, and my students get excited, too-- I will never run a marathon, but at least I can READ a marathon!

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