Monday, October 03, 2016

MMGM- E.B. White

Nominations for the Cybils Awards are now open! Make sure you head over to nominate your favorite titles. Middle Grade Fiction especially needs lots of good titles nominated!

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday.

28954082Hautman, Pete. The Forgetting Machine
September 20th 2016 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young 
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Now that Ginger has figured out the problems in her hometown that were making people comatose (see The Flinkwater Factor), she's stuck doing boring school projects like finding out why her town is named Flinkwater. (No, there's no flink in the water!) When her big crush, Billy, has a new tutor, Mr. Rausch, who is supposed to help him with his history class, he suddenly knows a lot of facts but doesn't remember Ginger! Ginger's father also has some memory loss, which seems to be affecting many people at ACPOD. Add to this mix the Tisk's who are trying to get Charlotte's Web removed from the town library (run by the Pformidable Pfleuger, who loves paper books) and whom Ginger suspects have altered online copies, and life starts to get exciting. Ginger and Theo figure out that Rausch has a machine that he is using to download information directly into people's brains, but at the expense of their other memories. He's also saving the memories in animals' brains. Clearly, this is not something that Ginger can allow to happen. 
Strengths: This was a fun, science fiction-y romp which I enjoyed a lot. Not space travel, not dystopia, just technology being used for good and evil. I especially enjoyed the chapter in the back that discussed whether the technologies mentioned were something currently being used in the present or being developed for the future. (As invasive as using fingerprints instead of passwords is, I think passwords will be the death of us all and I'm okay with it. Or retina scanning.)
Weaknesses: The first book hasn't circulated terribly well, probably because of the cover. I think I will include it with the video game books, or put it on display with the really popular Korman's Masterminds, and that might get readers into this series. 
What I Really Think: This is a fun change of pace for Hautman, and I'm enjoying it!

AND, since this uses Charlotte's Web as a cultural touchstone, maybe I can use that to drum up interest in this E.B. White's biography. 

**UPDATE** In the comments, Kirby Larson pointed out that there is a nice post on this book at The Nerdy Book Club. Since I read an E ARC on a Kindle from 2010, I didn't get to see the art very clearly, so I'm looking forward to the library copy I purchased to come in. The art will make it much easier to entice children to read this. 

28114411Sweet, Melissa. Some Writer! The Story of E.B.White
October 4th 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers
E ARC from

I have to say that this was an oddly readable book despite its length (176 pages) and subject matter (E.B. White just mainly wanted to be left alone and write). Will my students be as blown away by it as the teachers and librarians like me who seem to love it? Probably not. As much as I like The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus illustrated by this author, I would not be at all surprised if it has never once circulated. 

So, well researched, visually appealing, oddly readable. I will definitely purchase and recommend, but will any of my students read it? Sigh. 


  1. I'm still waiting for Some Writer! to arrive at my library and I haven't read The Flinkwater Factor yet, so thanks for the reviews. Happy Monday!

  2. I wondered about the Melissa Sweet's E.B. White as well, until I was sent a copy. I loved it and it almost made me wish I were back in the classroom teaching literature to kids. It's a great teaching tool, but I'm also afraid that by itself it will only be read by those of his fans that might have read beyond Charlotte's Web.

  3. The first ones sound fun, and I have Some Writer ordered. I suspect you're right, unless it's shown to older students who loved Charlotte's Web. I taught middle school & several of my students read Michael Sims' The Story of Charlotte's Web, and enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to this new Melissa Sweet, but your argument might be valid about younger kids reading it, Karen.

  4. Fun sounding addition to the shelves. I haven't read anything by this author but will be taking care of that soon. Have a great week!

  5. Oh, I want to read this book! Great review. Thanks!

  6. Some Writer! sounds wonderful. The Forgetting Machine sounds like a lot of fun--and I like that it uses Charlotte's Web.

  7. I really feel you - I often have the same conversation with myself - I love it! But will they love it...I wish we all had the budget to just experiment and buy a copy of everything, just in case! :'(

  8. I'll have to pick up SOME WRITER! It looks too good to miss. :)

  9. We love how you think about where to place a book so that students find it. Can't wait to read Some Writers! - We know there are teachers out there who will read it aloud and book talk it in a way that gets this book in students' hands.

  10. I liked Roget as well ... but you're right, it will take dedicated effort to get it picked up and read! Would love to see Some Writer! Awesome title.

  11. Do read Monica Edinger's Nerdy Book Club post on this book. I think it would inspire you!

  12. Great additions to your shelves. I hadn't heard of the E.B. White one until a friend of mine read it and enjoyed it. I'll have to check that one out. Great post.

  13. I will definitely read Some Writer! Really looking forward to finding it soon.