Oh, these harried last days of summer break! I am feeling the time crunch as I look at my summer to-read pile. In an act of desperation, I've been reading four books at once, hopping from one to another as I feel the need to take a break from what is currently in my hands.
Two books I have finished, both Bluebonnet Award nominees:
The Terrible Two, by Mac Barnett and Jory John, illustrated by Kevin Cornell. I approached this book with some reservations, thinking it might be a repeated plot of another Bluebonnet nominee from years past--but I was wrong. (I'll get to that later). "The Terrible Two" refers to Miles, the new kid in town and known prankster at his former school, and Niles, the school helper/ known "kiss-up" to the anxiety-driven principal. I don't want to give too much away, because I loved the twists and turns in this book. It was a fast-paced, short read. The wacky antics of the principal and jokes about cows made me laugh out loud. The subplot of finding a true friend in middle school while forming one's individual identity is a classic theme.
That other book I mentioned? Pickle: The (Formerly) Anonymous Prank Club of Fountain Point Middle School by Kim Baker would be a great book pairing to discuss two different takes on the same subject of school pranks.
My second book of the week is Woof: A Bowser and Birdie Novel, by Spencer Quinn. To be honest, I've never been a "dog book" lover, having been emotionally scarred by Where the Red Fern Grows and Old Yeller as a child. The last few "dog books" from our Bluebonnet Committee have changed my views (mainly because the dog is alive and happy at the end of the novels).
Woof is a mystery, narrated by Birdie's recently adopted stray, Bowser. Birdie lives with her grandmother in a small town in Louisiana. Her father is deceased, and her mother is working on an oil rig off the coast of Africa. Bowser becomes Birdie's confidante and supporter as she tries to solve the mystery of her grandfather's stolen prize marlin. Serious and sometimes dangerous events in the story are punctuated with scattered and optimistic thoughts from Bowser, who is a great judge of character and completely dedicated to his new owner. Knowing that Bowser was there to save the day made the "scary parts" less so. I'm looking forward to the next installment in the series; I can anticipate students requesting them right away!
Getting back to my reading pile this afternoon. What have you read this week?