Today I’m hopping across the mountain range to Scholastic’s 50 Best Books of Summer. The 50 chosen titles are broken down into a range of genres (and I use that term loosely)- Picture Books, Fantasy & Magic, Humor, Realistic Fiction, Nonfiction, and Magic & Mystery. I’m not even going to try to post my reviews by these categories – since I’m borrowing books from libraries, there’s no certainty that I’ll be able to get all the titles at all, never mind in any sort of organized manner.
Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie, illustrated by Yuyi Morales. I really like Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, so I was looking forward to this one. Read the info below the dedications – how Morales created her illustrations is SO cool! This is one of those stories that just makes you smile. The father-son relationship, the desire to be your own person (not “my father’s son”, but “me”) is something so relatable. The poetic text combined with the bold, colorful, playful illustrations are a treat. 4 stars
Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff. What a wonderful message! The themes of fear, life and death, and courage/bravery are skillfully intertwined. Goldie isn’t fleshed out enough and therefore many of the sections where she features fall flat. I would bet that, together with Shurtliff’s Rump and Jack, this would be a kid favorite. For teachers who cover traditional literature in their reading and writing curriculum, this would be a good text to show repeated and overlapping themes. 3 stars
The Bolds by Julian Clary, illustrated by David Roberts. This story started out quite promising, but it didn’t turn out to be as funny as I hoped. This would still make a good read aloud, especially if you can pull off the English accent! Spoiler alert: McNumpty is an animal, too – saw that one coming from a mile away. 3 stars
Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan. I *heart* books like this! Personal growth. Antagonists you love to hate, but at the same time you know their story is just as dynamic and worthwhile as the protagonists’. Multicultural! It puts me in mind of Andrew Clements’ Extra Credit. I enjoyed Weeks’ food mysteries Pie and Honey. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for her and her co-author.
OK…that’s 4 books out of 50… 2/25…still a long way to go…
Until next time, keep reading!