Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Elementary Side of the Pilkey Line

Beaty, Andrea. Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies.
Nominated for the Cybils by Jess Pugh

Kevin and Joules Rockman are dropped off at a suspiciously decrepit summer camp because their parents are off to attend Spam conventions, and find early on that there are giant, evil, sugar crazed rabbits invading the camp because their planet has burned up. Complications ensue. Eventually, the evil rabbits are subdued.

Strengths: This one almost had me. There are many clever lines and concepts, and I did laugh out loud several times. The mix between the graphic novel portion and the text portion is good, but ultimately, it was too goofy.

Weaknesses: I think my interest flagged at page 45 when the author admonished us again to wait, and filled the page up with "...................". This is probably a very good bet for 4th graders, but would have limited appeal to my students.

Klise, Kate. Dying to Meet You
(Sequel nominated for the Cybils. Drat.)

I always think that I will like these books and... don't. I. B. Grumply, a children's write with a bad case of writer's block rents a decrepit house for the summer and finds out that he is responsible for a young boy, a cat, and a ghost. Since Grumply's books were about ghost tamers, the ghost is not pleased and attempts to make him see reason.

Strengths: Some students might enjoy the epistolatory format, which uses different fonts for each character. There are also many illustrations and newspaper articles to go along with the story.

Weaknesses: Again, too goofy. Really-- the parents leave the boy with the house? There was really very little character development, and they all annoyed me slightly. I will need to read the sequel, however, because that's the one that was nominated.

Wiseman, Blaine. Boston Marathon. (Sporting Championships)

My last Follett order had several books from this series. The Boston Marathon one was particularly informative. It is short, with just 32 pages, but covers the history, highlights, and current record holders. I know several students who will want this for their nonfiction book for our 8th grade language arts unit.

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