Saturday, August 22, 2020

Carton Saturday- Fauja Singh and Geeger the Robot

As I'm writing this, it's the beginning of May. Normally, we would be having meetings for students interested in running cross country in the fall, handing out mileage charts, and looking forward to fun runs at Zoombeezi Bay and the Ohio Stadium. Last year, the longtime coach stepped down, and I did, too. Parents took over for the year, but with the pandemic, who knows that will even happen to the fall season. I came late to running, starting when I was 40, but after nine years coaching, I am a firm believer in the value of running. Elementary school is a great time to drum up interest in the sport, and this is a great book to use!

Singh, Simrat Jeet and Kaur, Baljinder. Fauja Singh Keeps Going: The True Story of the Oldest Person to Ever Run a Marathon 
August 25th 2020 by Kokila

After a full life farming in India, Singh moved to England at the age of 81 to live with his family. For someone who loved his country, this was a hard move, but Singh found that running helped him feel better about his new situation. Soon, he was running more and more, and enlisted a coach to help him train for a marathon. He ran many races, has a raft of records he has broken, and still continues to run. The book has great illustrations, as well as a photograph at the end, and lists all of Singh's records. Seeing older people as active and engaged in life, and even trying new things, is a fantastic message. I have quite a collection of running picture books, so will probably purchase this one.

 Singh, along with runner Joy Johnson (who didn't start running until she was 59 and literally died with her racing shoes on) give me strength to believe that "Every step forward is a victory."

Lerner, Jarrett and Seidlitz,Serge (illus.) Geeger the Robot Goes to School
August 25th 2020 by Aladdin (Quix)
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

In this early reader book, Geeger is a robot of undetermined origin whose job is to eat food waste and convert it to energy, aided by the Digest-o-tron 5000, which also can alert him if he has eaten something inappropriate. Even though he has a brain made of wires, he occasionally gets lonely, so he decides to go to school. He is a little nervous about this, but is helped by Tillie, a kind student, and his teacher, Ms. Bork. There are some mishaps where Geeger's desire to eat anything that looks like food gets him into trouble, but Ms. Bork is very understanding and helps Geeger learn.
Strengths: Aladdin has three great series: M!X, MAX, and QUIX. The first two are hugely popular in my middle school library because they actually reflect the sort of fast-paced, amusing books my students request! The QUIX books (which include Quackenbush's Miss Mallard Mysteries) are for younger audiences, but also have that happy, goofy quality. Like Lerner's previous books, EngiNerds, Geeger is a giggle worthy romp that students will pass amongst themselves. I love that this is described as "Amelia Bedelia meets House of Robots", as it definitely has an Amelia Bedelia quality to it that young readers will love. The text-to-picture ratio is great, font large, and level and length perfect either for reading out loud together or for independent reading. I would definitely have bought this for my children when they were young, since they loved anything science or technology related.
Weaknesses: This is too young for my readers, but an absolute necessity for elementary libraries. The only thing that gave me pause was that Geeger had emotions. Coming from a middle grade background, I wanted to know more about these shadowy scientists who made him and sent him to Amblerville!
What I really think:  I won't purchase, but will definitely recommend to elementary librarians.

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