Thursday, February 24, 2011

Assorted Readings

McKissack, Patricia, Frederick and John. Cyborg
Sequel to The Clone Codes
There's still trouble in the future: Leanna has escaped but is missing her mother, who has been arrested for her activity in the Liberty Bell Movement. We are more concerned in this book with Houston, who is a Cyborg. Anyone with any biofe (i.e. bionic) body part is considered a Cyborg, and inferior. Along with the rebel leader Li Rizin, Houston and Leanna try to fight for the rights of people other than Firsts and Wholers, people who are not genetically or biologically manipulated in any way.

Strengths: It's good to see multicultural Science Fiction; what happened to the Lee and Low Tu Books that were supposed to come out?

Weaknesses: Liked the first book, but this seemed like a completely different series! Heavy on gadgets and things like genetic tattoos, this also slipped onto the preachy side, comparing the prejudice against Cyborgs and clones with that against African Americans. A very slim volume, and a bit of a let down. I wanted a second opinion, but could only find another review at Book Reviews and More.

Preller, James. Justin Fisher Declares War!
Justin has a cafeteria disaster his first day in his new school, and rather than hazard being laughed at for that, he becomes the class clown. This puts him at odds with Mr. Tripp, his teacher, and gets him in trouble with other students as well. When the school plans a talent show, Justin wants to be the M.C., a job assigned to Mr. Tripp. The two work together, and Justin learns that he doesn't need to be mean or disruptive to be successful in school.

Strengths: A fast paced, well put together novel for elementary students.

Weaknesses: I didn't like Justin at all, and while the cover is great, I don't see being able to sell this to middle school students. Definitely would buy for elementary.

John, Anthony. Five Flavors of Dumb.
Disclosure: Only read about 200 pages of this, enjoyed it, but was not feeling that it was a middle school book. If your collection skews a bit older, take a look at this Schneider Family Award winner. From the Publisher: "Eighteen-year-old Piper becomes the manager for her classmates' popular rock band, called Dumb, giving her the chance to prove her capabilities to her parents and others, if only she can get the band members to get along. " LOTS of people like this:

Katie's Book Blog
Reflections with Coffee
There's a Book

Also took a look at de Goldi's The 10 P.M. Question (from the publisher: " Twelve-year-old Frankie Parsons has a quirky family, a wonderful best friend, and a head full of worrying questions that he shares with his mother each night, but when free-spirited Sydney arrives at school with questions of her own, Frankie is forced to face the ultimate ten p.m. question. "), but it fell on the wrong side of the quirky/foreign (New Zealand) line for me.

Trying to look at more picture books for use in the classroom. Her Majesty Queen Rania AlAbdullah's The Sandwich Swap looked like it would be good for understanding cultural differences but didn't have quite enough substance for my purposed. Kiss the Book disagrees!

Finally: toot, toot!


  1. What a great article! You're famous!

  2. Ms. YIngling - you are so good at searching out other blogs and websites and doing all of that cross-referencing! SO cool - all of the information that is on your blog.

    Thanks for mentioning Kiss the Book!

  3. Anonymous9:08 PM EST

    Hi Ms. Yingling, thank you for the list (so fun to read, love the information I get), and the cross-references are much helpful. I reviewed CLONES and I'm now curious about CYBORG. The book is written by an engineer (if I remember well, one of the three writers), and his love of gadgets, his creativity when it comes to that definitely shows, right?

  4. Hey Karen--I read Five Flavors of Dumb for StorySnoops, and it would probably be appropriate for your older students--some kissing and some mild language, but otherwise pretty tame. Good lessons about not judging by one's exterior...