Monday, February 19, 2018

Baby Monkey, Private Eye

Thank you Scholastic for the copies
In walks an opera diva, a pizza chef, a clown, and an astronaut.  It sounds like a beginning of a joke, but it is anything but a joke.  These are new clients for a very special private eye.  No, the detective is not Cormoran Strike, but Baby Monkey.  Brian Selznick and David Serlin’s newest character. 

A couple weekends ago, was a literacy filled.  Thursday and Friday was the CCIRA annual conference.  The conference was wonderful, and just what I needed to rejuvenate me. It continued to get better because Denver was host city to the ALA Midwinter Conference.  On Saturday I attended the exhibit hall where I was able to pick up an advance reader copy of Baby Monkey Private Eye by Brian Selznick and David Serlin. (I’ll be honest I picked up two copies.) I was so excited to get my hands on this joyful book.  Back up a little bit.  It is not longer in my possession.  The students in my class got a hold of it and created a wait list to be fair.  The amount of laughter is amazing!

I love this book.  As usual Brian Selznick illustrations are breathtaking. The text the two created is engagingly funny to high third grade readers.  Looking at the changing details during each new chapter is fun.  I mean really Maria Callas and the first footstep on the money.  The creativity to come up with this is just…WOW!

Finally, anyone that has watched a toddler try to put on pants will love watching Baby Monkey try to put on his pants.  Again, the laughter of third graders reading this part is priceless.  This book reminds us that if we only allow kids to read books at “their level” most kids will miss out on the joy of a masterpiece.   

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Greetings From Witness Protection by Jake Burt

I normally blog about books that have a male protagonist, but I loved Greetings From Witness Protection b
y Jake Burt so much that I am writing about it because I know boys will really enjoy it.

I am going to cheat a little with the summary and edit what is on the book cover. 

The marshals are looking for the perfect girl to join a family on the run from a Mafia family.  The bad guys are looking for a mom, dad and a son.  Not a family of four.  Nicki is living in a group home when she is selected to help protect this family.  She has to move from New York City to North Carolina to go into witness protection. 

First off, WOW!  This is Jake Burt’s first novel.  Way to get a following.  On the surface the reason I enjoyed this book so much is that it is fun, and suspenseful.  Nicki is a funny character.  She is determined to do the right thing.  I, also, like that it is totally believable, but not really. I mean I hope the US Marshalls don’t put kids in this type of danger.  The suspense and humor is where I know I can easily get boys to read this book.

What really sets this book apart is the way Mr. Burt deals with trauma.  Nicki’s parents have abandoned her, and the only caregiver she has really known, Grandma, has died.  This is how she ends up in and out of foster care.  The hope of all the kids is that they will “STICK”.  This is where the foster kids get to stay with the family.  A FOREVER FAMILY. 

The friendship Nicki makes in her new school is special and shows how special she is.  Nicki, also, works really hard to form a loving bond with her “new” family.  Without giving away the ending there is a scene towards the end where Nicki actions make her “family” question her loyalty, but it is the scene that shows that Nicki has found her FOREVER FAMILY.  That she has stuck.