Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Book talk: Milo has become pretty good at moving. So when he moves to his 5th house in 13 years he knows the drill of being a new kid and is hoping just to make it through the year alive. There are some good things about his new school, like the gorgeous Summer Goodman and his new friend Marshall aka One-Eyed Jack. But there are also some set backs, like the fact that Summer Goodman doesn't even know he exists while his loser neighbor Hillary keep putting notes in his locker. Sometimes Milo just wishes he could turn invisible, even though Marshall insists that laser vision or teleportation are far better superpowers. It doesn't matter because Milo doesn't have any superpower, although he certainly could use one. At school he's failing math, at home there's nothing but silence, and he can't even finish an entire special Booger Breath Freezie. But with Marshall and the friends he makes along the way, perhaps he can make it through the year alive after all.
Rocks my socks: Milo spends the novel coming to terms with his mother's death and working through issues of identity and trying to fit in but despite the heavy subject matter the novel is full of humor and a light-hearted charm that made it easy and fun to read. The book is illustrated by the author with cartoon-like drawings throughout and there are other add-ons like lists Milo makes or comic pages showing certain scenes that give the book the feeling of a journal where Milo is putting down his thoughts as he struggles to sort through his feelings.
Rocks in my socks: The narrative felt a bit over-simplified at times, even considering the target audience. The characters other than Milo are not very developed and some characters that I feel should play a stronger part in the story, like Milo's sister, are rarely mentioned.
Every book its reader: I'd give this to fourth to seventh graders looking for a humorous school story. This will have particular appeal to those who enjoy journal-style books with cartoons in them like the Amelia or Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. The narrative is, as I said, pretty simple so it would be good for kids who aren't very strong readers. Kids who appreciate the humor of Milo and Marshall trying to drink the "Booger Breath" flavored Freezie will enjoy this novel.
Milo Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze by Alan Silberberg
Buy it at your local independent book store or check it out from your local library