August 27, 2009

The Big One-Oh by Dean Pitchford

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 3:35 am by suebe2

bigThe Big One-Oh (AR 4 . 5)

by Dean Pitchford

Putnams

 

Faced by the prospect of another party-less birthday, Charley Maplewood decides that this year, his 10th birthday, will be different.

  1. He will make friends.
  2. His party will have a theme.
  3. And it will not be horrible, regardless of past birthday party experiences.

Unfortunately, Charley is a latch key kid.   Sadly, it means he may have to throw his own birthday party.   Scarily (for the parents out there), it means there is a very real possibility that he could get away with it. 

Fortunately, he starts making friends rather quickly, once he puts his mind to it.  There is a fellow horror comicbook fan, the school genius, two bullies and the creepy guy next door (Gary).   Gary turns out to be a not so creepy, just socially inept, special effects man and Charley, a budding chef and horror comicbook fan, finds himself fascinated by something that combines his two great loves.

Quite a bit about this book made me squirm and I found myself wondering if it was really “appropriate” and why the Mark Twain award committee would have chosen it.

Then I got over my knot-headed, grown-up self and realized what made me squirm.  All of the adults were hopelessly irresponsible, like many actual adults who also make me squirm.   They aren’t mean or malicious.  They’re just clueless.  Any kid reading this is nodding.  “Duh, they’re grown ups.” 

If your child is reading selected books from this year’s Mark Twain award list, pick this one up.  It is an excellent boy book and is funny and gross and action filled enough to appeal to reluctant readers.   There is a lot about horror effects, scary comics and cooking.

And if you read it with your child and find yourself squirming, pat yourself on the back, check out how hard your young reader is laughing. 

–SueBE

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