Monday, November 19, 2018

MMGM- Short and Skinny

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Always in the Middle and #IMWAYR day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday.

Tatulli, Mark. Short and Skinny
October 23rd 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Public library copy

Mark is 4'7" in middle school, and takes his share of abuse in the hallways, although he has some friends. As summer approaches, he is bound and determined to put on some weight and muscles, and sends off for many aides found in the back of a comic book. (But no sea monkeys. Drat!) He has a cool bike that takes him all over town, and when the original Star Wars movie premiers in May of 1977, he and his friends are there at the local theatre, waiting in line. His brother and sister aren't always terribly helpful, but are there for him when he needs them. Mark's biggest interest is drawing comic strips, but after seeing Star Wars, he is bound and determined to do make a MAD Magazine style movie parody of it. His parents are supportive of his attempts, even in the days when film meant actual, expensive film and processing, and he gets some small acclaim for his attempts, even if he doesn't get a whole lot bigger over the summer.
Strengths: There are a lot of middle school boys who are very small, but it doesn't show up in literature. My brother was 4'10" when he started high school in 1981, so I know it can be a very significant concern. This is a historical fiction graphic novel, much like Holm's Sunny Side Up, and there aren't a lot of those. The blending of historical details with concerns that students still has makes this very engaging, and the Star Wars tie in can never go wrong!
Weaknesses: I wish this had come out about ten years ago. The current batch of middle school parents were probably just being born in 1977, making this not as helpful as a generational bridge.
What I really think: Definitely purchasing, but may wait to see if there is a Follett Bound available. Graphic novels have a shelf life of about two years in my library, and they are very expensive.

Bailey, Ellen, Beer, Sophies and Farnsworth, Lauren. I Am a Wonder Woman 
July 1st 2018 by Buster Books
Copy provided by the publisher

This book covers over fifty famous and impressive women from all walks of life, over a huge span of years. From the ancient Greek Hypatia to paralympian Ellie Simmons (born 1994), each woman is showcased with pertinent information about her life and impact on society On the opposite page, there is a suggested activity, writing exercise, or project that readers can do while thinking about their own possible impact. The entire book is illustrated in shades of orange, teal and beige, and is one of those books that begs to be taken apart, laminated, and made into bulletin boards! It would also be a perfect gift for the young feminist in your life!

While there are a large number of women who are well-covered (Helen Kellar, Harriet Tubman, Marie Curie) there are also some of whom I have never heard, and some from different parts of the world, making this a great starting point for further reading about women such as Brita Tott, the Mirabal sisters, and Xian Zhang. My one quibble is that there seems to be no rhyme or reason for the order of the entries-- my own preference would have been chronological, but geographical would have worked as well. My daughters would have loved this when they were young!


  1. I have been looking forward to reading I Am a Wonder Woman -- thank you for sharing this fantastic review of it! Short and Skinny is a new title to me. I'll have to look more closely at this one and see if we have a local copy. Thank you for the shares, this week. I can always count on you to share new-to-me titles!

  2. Both of these books sound like worthwhile reads. While reading about Short and Skinny, I was reminded about a close friend of ours who remained 'short' all through high school. In the two years after graduation he grew to be 6' 2".

  3. Short and Skinny is a book many readers will relate to. I have never seen this subject addressed in any books for teens Excellent book to have in a school library. And, I've been interested in reading I Am a Wonder Woman. Your review has nudged me to get a copy. Great shares.