Friday, May 31, 2013

Guy Friday-- Lenny Cyrus: School Virus

Lenny Cyrus, School Virus Schreiber, Joe. Lenny Cyrus: School Virus
2 April 2013 , Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

Lenny has like Zoey for as long as he can remember, but she doesn't really acknowledge his existence. With his friend Harlan, Lenny finds a way to reduce himself in size enough to be introduced into Zoey's body so he can make his way into her brain and convince her to like him. Far fetched? Not for a seventh grader. Lenny's parents are both scientists, and he manages to get himself reduced and has Harlan put him into an empty cold capsule and drop him in Zoey's pop. Once in her body, he battles a lot of talking cells and gets help from some of them. At the same time, Zoey is trying to put on a school play, feeling ill effects of Lenny infiltrating her system, and Harlan finds himself in contact with Zoey a little more than is comfortable for him, considering how much his best friend likes her. When Lenny realizes that Zoey has a nasty viral infection, he helps to save her, and Zoey lets both boys know that she's too young to date but would like to be friends with them both.
Strengths: Not only was this fun, but it has Common Core connections written ALL over it. There was a lot of fairly technical body systems stuff that would be great to tie in to some nonfiction. (Although perhaps not the 1982 book on The Brain that I weeded!) Lenny's longing for Zoey is quite realistic, almost painfully so. Lots of fun moments. Fantastic cover, and great chapter decorations-- Matt Smith clearly has done his demographic testing and has just the right cartoon touch for middle school boys. In fact, I think I need a Matt Smith designed t shirt of boys reading...
Weaknesses: Some of the body descriptions were a bit confusing, and I had to suspend disbelief that Lenny could reduce himself and get into Zoey's system. Of course, the main reason to purchase this is so that I can then get students to check out the copy of Isaac Asimov's Fantastic Voyage that I still have! I have a friend who still talks about the 1966 movie with Raquel Welch!

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