Monday, September 24, 2007

Blitzkreig Book Reviews: The Children Are Manipulative Little Shits Edition

A quick round up of some cool books I've turned up in the course of the weeding project. I've got two presentations to set up based on the books I've encountered--one for good books for book report and another titled "I Read This When I Was Young!" with selections from all the staff.

Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren by Barbara Park--I don't get the parents who are up in arms about Junie's boisterous nature and poor grammar. It's all good fun, people. Even little kids deserve some escapism in their reading. However, check out the smoothest piece of friendship manipulation since Frances got her tea set back from Thelma as Junie convinces Lucille that mutual crush Warren could not possibly be interested in a clod like her. Miss M. and I both like Junie as we were bouncy, goofy girls when we were young.

Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth by E.L. Koingsburg--Apparently, when you're the new kid in town it's the best time to be all mysterious and find someone to bend to your will. Elizabeth is a good girl who encounters Jennifer, new girl who claims witchcraft powers. She's certainly mysterious and spooky, and she offers to train Elizabeth, thereby setting up a fun series of challenges as she leads the credulous Elizabeth through hell. Elizabeth is slow on the uptake, but when she finally figures shit out and calls Jennifer on her bullshit, it is great. And then makes her be her friend.

The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald--I loved this series as a kid, and I was laughing out loud rereading this at the Diner on Clifton. I got involved in a huge discussion with an old lady about it. J.D. is the youngest boy in a Catholic family in Mormon dominated Utah. His older brother Tom, aka The Great Brain, is the sort of kid we call pure Irish in my family--always got the angles covered, living a bit outside the rules, looking to make a buck. He's the craftiest kid in town but doesn't do too bad by others as he embarks on his schemes, which range from selling chances to check out the first indoor toilet in town, giving the crippled kid his self-esteem back and the ability to do all his chores, and saving kids lost in a cave. Tom's hero status is always tarnished by his venial nature and his willingness to exploit the easily duped J.D. Ha! I love a bad boy!

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