FRIDAY FIRSTLINERS

This meme asks that one copy the first line(s) of a current read in an attempt to “hook” others. With that in mind, here is the first line of The Rosie Result, the final book in the Don Tillman Trilogy.

“I was standing on one leg shucking oysters when the problems began.”

Weird? No weirder than the loveable main character of the Rosie series, Don Tillman. I loved the first book, The Rosie Project; enjoyed the second, The Rosie Effect; and am in for a good holiday-weekend read with The Rosie Result. I can hardly wait to begin!

SATURDAY MORNINGS FOR KIDS

A book I put in my LFL (Little Free Library) in not-so-gently-used condition, owned at one point by someone who wrote his name, “MATHIS” on the inside cover, has just been returned after being borrowed/taken. Since its  condition showed that boys had actually  read it, I decided to read it myself in order to recommend it to “reluctant readers,” who so often are of the male gender.

My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian, complete with “cartoons by Jake Tashjian.” was a fun read as well as a subtle vocabulary builder. Instead of having definitions of challenging words in the margin, it had cartoons illustrating the meanings of the words.

The book’s opening lines, ” I DON’T WANT TO READ THIS BOOK”! would capture any reader’s attention, especially a male, reluctant one. Mystery occurs in this book as the first-person narrator, Derek, discovers an old newspaper clipping about a teen girl’s drowning off Martha’s Vinyard. What he discovers is not what he or his mother expected, and makes a life-changing difference for him and his family. The author inhabits the mind of Derek well, and the cartoonist expresses a young boy’s impatience, curiosity and thought processes with stick figures and labels.

It is a great read!

TWO EXCELLENT CHILDREN’S CHAPTER BOOKS

FIRST BOOK

Title: The Classroom at the End of the Hall

by Douglas Evans, illustrated by Larry Di Fiori

Published by: Scholastic

Age appeal: Elementary School through Middle School

Appeals to both boys and girls, but especially to boys, even reluctant readers.

Synopsis: The classroom at the end of the hall is “special,” unusual, and just plain weird. Roger, who is assigned to that classroom at the  beginning of the year has no idea what is in store for him and his classmates. Some of these classmates include Emily, aka Emily the Neat whose desk becomes inhabited by the Messy Desk Pest and Kenneth, a poor reader who finds and CAN read from The Purple Reader. Teachers come and go in the Classroom at the End of the Hall because strange things befall them and stranger substitutes take their place, some for a short stay, others longer. Will Roger end up with a good permanent teacher or even a permanent teacher at all? What do he and two of his friends find LIVING in the attic above the classroom? Will the school year ever end?  Will the students in the classroom at the end of the hall even  WANT it to end?

Rating 5 out of a possible 5

Note: This is the perfect addition to a classroom library. It is humorous, imaginative, and “speaks” to kids.

BOOK TWO

Title: Punished

by David Lubar

Published by: Scholastic

Age appeal: Elementary through Middle School

Appeals especially to boys with a good sense of humor who love puns.

Synopsis: Logan is cursed, cursed with speaking in puns which make his teachers, his parents, and his best friend, Benedict, think he is being a smart aleck.  Before the old man he encounters in the library will lift the curse, Logan must accomplish several tasks involving research and clever thinking.  It reminded me of the Twelve Labors of Hercules in that the tasks are impossible for Logan to accomplish.  Will Logan succeed and lift the curse, or will he continue to live a very punny life?

Rating 4 out of 5 I would have liked the book to be longer, with more primary characters, but the “skinnines” of the book is part of its appeal.

Note: Adults may get tired of the puns and should be aware that boys, especially, who read this may speak in puns for days afterwards.

 

Dear Committee Members by Julia Schumacher: A Review

This book was recommended by a colleague who has served on many search committees and has received many letters of recommendation for applicants, none of which could possibly be as clever or creative as the ones that the author strings together to create a novel.

It is a small book, and I checked it out from the Alvin Public Library.  I read it in a few hours during my private 24 hour Reading Marathon. The book is funny, sardonic, and too much like real life in academia.

The author has won awards for another novel, ALA Notable Book of the Year, and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. She has written a short story collection and “five novels for young readers.” Schumacher explains she teaches at the University of Minnesota and has written many letters of recommendation.