Sunday, January 21, 2018

Jay vs. the Saxophone of Doom

29954004Kootsra, Kara. Jay vs. the Saxophone of Doom
January 3rd 2017 by Puffin Books
Copy received from publisher for Cybils consideration

Jay lives with his siblings Jodie and Dylan with their parents in the same town from which hockey great Bobby Orr hales. Jay loves watching and playing hockey and hanging out with his best friend, Luke. He's a little leery of 6th grade starting, especially when Mick Bartlett is in his class again. Mick loves to give Jay a hard time about everything. The hardest thing about 6th grade turns out to be the compulsory music class, for which Jay has to learn the saxophone. He's so bad at it that he gets a tutor, an older boy named Ben who loves playing instruments. While Jay is still concerned that he will make a fool of himself, he works hard and does fairly well. The school year progresses with small failures and triumphs, and in the end Jay feels that playing the saxophone was something he was able to conquer .
Strengths: The world definitely needs more humorous, realistic fiction, especially involving sports. I appreciated that Jay's family was very typical and supportive; they watch hockey and eat pizza together, Jodie rolls her eyes, Dylan gives Jay a hard time. You would think there would be more books with these typical family interactions. Jay is fairly upbeat, but in a tween way-- the end is always near, and usually in the guise of a history pop quiz. I do have a few readers who like hockey, and including music is fun as well.
Weaknesses: Some of the humor tries too hard, and I found it difficult to believe that Jay would have been forced to play a musical instrument. In our district, we are constantly flirting with losing music programs, so the students involved are usually grateful.
What I really think: I'm interested to see more books from this author. This is available through Follett's Titlewave, which is great considering how hard it is to get some Canadian books.

Krosoczka, Jarrett J. The Force Oversleeps (Jedi Academy #5)
July 25th 2017 by Scholastic Inc.
Copy picked up from exchange table at Kidlitcon

Synopsis from
"Victor Starspeeder is back at Jedi Academy for year two, but it's not going the way he'd planned. He was thrilled about Drama Club and hoped to get the lead in this year's musical... But a new kid got the role! What gives?! Plus, he keeps oversleeping and getting to class late . . . Worst of all, his big sister Christina is getting ready to graduate from Jedi Academy, and there are rumors going around that she's a Sith! What's a Padawan to do? In times when he feels more alone than ever, Victor will have to trust the ways of the Force and his friends if he's going to survive year two in this all-new chapter in the Jedi Academy."

I mention this book because I'm not a huge fan of the series, so it's easy to forget to buy these. There is a weird subset of my population who adores these, although they don't seem to be the kids who like the movies. This only made sense when I was at Target looking for Harry Potter socks for my daughter, and I saw Star Wars underpants for six year olds.

I think these are for the kids who have a sort of passing knowledge of the series but don't necessarily watch the movies. They have the toys, maybe their parents buy them the merchandise, and Jedi Academy is tangential enough without requiring a lot of prerequisite knowledge. The Krosoczka titles seem to be more graphic novel-y than the Brown ones, which seemed more text heavy. Also, there is a sixth book coming out on July 18, 2018 entitled The Principal Strikes Back. Already put it on my order list.

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