|Thanks Penguin Random House for the copy.|
I am very excited to participate in the blog tour of Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom by David Neilsen. It has been awhile since I have done a blog tour, but the description of the book called to me. It said, “Read Me! You’ll Like Me!” Given the trouble I have had over the past few months I’m glad I finally listened.
One day the decrepit old house that all the kids played in was sold. In moved a very odd man named Dr. Fell. The small town children were not thrilled because they considered the hosue theirs. Jerry, his sister, Gail and Gail’s friend Nancy mentioned to Dr. Fell why everyone was moping around. Next thing you know the world’s best playground is built in the front yard.
Soon after there is a huge increase in the number of injuries the kids are having. The weird thing is that everyone heals quickly, so quickly that the trio of friends take notice. They set out to figure out what the spooky doctor is up to.
I never like to give much away about a story. It takes the fun away from the reader. Anyhow I loved this book. Right know it is on the top of the list for my second read aloud of the year.
A couple of weeks ago I had to attend a weeklong professional development on literacy. One of the sessions focused the importance of vocabulary in students writing. I bring this up because Mr. Neilsen’s created the best names for the characters. I can’t wait to use examples from the book to demonstrate how word choice makes a story so much better. Here are just a few of the ones that really stood out: Nancy Pinkblossom (pink and flowers are not what pop in to the brain when thinking of Nancy.), PTA Co-President Martha Doomburg, Leonid Hazardfall (he fell so badly they weren’t sure he survived.), and finally the name of the school McKinley Grant Fillmore Elementary School. Every time a new character appeared their name set the tone for what was about to happen. Brilliant in my mind.
As a person that looks for stories with strong and interesting male characters I really like when he is combined with strong and interesting female characters. The balance of Jerry, Gail, and Nancy made the story very engaging. Jerry was the youngest but was very thoughtful in how to solve the problems in front of them. I have to admit from the get go I knew Nancy considered Jerry her younger brother as well and that is why she was always teasing him. It would be fun to ready other adventures about the three of them.
Like I wrote earlier I don’t like to give too much away, so I will sum up why I can’t wait to share this fun, and creepy story with students. The vocabulary used makes it interesting, but not too challenging. It makes the reader think, but helps out on the really hard stuff. Next the characters are ones you want to know more about. That is good story telling for sure. Everyone knows that too much of a good thing comes with consequences. Hard fact but that is reality. In Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom there is the worlds best playground, but the cost is something not worth paying for.
Like I said I can’t wait to read this aloud to my students. Enjoy it.