Sometimes I read a book, and I even enjoy it, but I don't have much to say about it. I jot down a few thoughts and then I move on. When these start to pile up, I put them together in one post.
Here are some MG Fantasy books (animals included) I have read recently with my thoughts.
The Adventures of a South Pole Pig by Chris Kurtz
concede it was well written. And it will appeal to a certain group on the younger end of the MG/upper end of the Early Chapter Book spectrum. I did not enjoy it at all. I almost DNFed it. I would have except I didn't have
a back up book the day I was reading it. (Lesson: ALWAYS have a back up
book.) This book embodies everything I LOATHE about animal stories and
it was far too precious. In a world where Charlotte's Web exists why do we need this book? (We don't.)
Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
I adore the concept of Flora and Ulysses.
A squirrel receives super powers (that involve poetry writing) after
being sucked up by a new ultra-vacuum and pairs up with a lonely girl to
save the world. The book is filled with larger than life characters and
adventures that kids will find hilarious while reading it, if they can
get through the difficult language. (Words like posit and malfeasance
are regularly used by the two child protagonists.)The sentence level
writing is excellent, but overall this book was just too full of quirky
for me to love. Way too full. This is a one way ticket to Quirky Town in
Quirky Country, residents all super-quirky. A little quirky gives a
book a certain shine. Too much quirky and I'm going to not enjoy it.
Unfortunately this one fell in the latter camp for me. I do think it
would make an outstanding read aloud and could be tremendously useful
teaching writing to upper level elementary students.
The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail by Richard Peck
The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail
is a cute read about a young mouse who lives at Buckingham Palace in
the days surrounding Queen Victoria's Jubilee. He is an engaging little
mouse and his story includes all of the requisite elements of a mouse
tale: an encounter with a cat, a barn scene, some startled royalty, a
flight around in the talons of a flying creature, and a discovery of his
importance despite his small size. Nothing new or ground breaking, but
it is all well written and fun. It would make an excellent read aloud
for the 1st-3rd grade crowd.
Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paulo Bacigalupi
IT HAS COWS! IT COUNTS!
didn't enjoy reading this book at all. The characterization was shallow
and there was little actual plot development. When you factor in the
didactic tone and the grossness of it all, I had a hard time finishing
it. It had so much potential, but all the characters are one note
stereotypes. Even the heroes had very little to offer that was likeable.
Bacigalupi definitely wanted to write a book that shed some light on
the issues of the exploitation of illegal immigrant workers and the
overall dodginess of the meat packing industry. All well and good. We
should be discussing and thinking about those things, but his execution
of this was heavy handed. Kids will be drawn to it because they like
creepy gross books, but beyond that there is nothing on offer here.