Saturday, September 27, 2014

A Pair of Quirky Characters

I'm lumping two books together because I read them a month or so ago, and if I don't, my memory will completely fail me concerning the two.

Danny's Doodles: The Jelly Bean Experiment by David A. Adler and Jasper John Dooley: Star of the Week by Caroline Adderson both revolve quirky (or weird) main characters. They are both chapter books for the younger crowd (probably 9 and under interest level). Neither are particularly riveting. Definitely not candidates for major awards, I hope.

But. Jasper John Dooley is annoying. The book revolves around him being the Star of the Week at school. He is so very excited about getting to be the show-and-teller and all the fun responsibilities that go along with the Star of the Week job. Meanwhile, his friend, Ori, gets a new baby sister, a screaming-all-the-time baby sister. While Ori is begging to come over so he can sleep, Jasper John Dooley is completely wrapped up in his Star of the Week duties. All I could think about Jasper John Dooley was how incredibly selfish he is, even for a child, even for an only child, even for a weird one who collects belly-button lint. It didn't help that the author made disparaging comments about parents of big families not even knowing who their children are, something that perhaps riled me up a bit.

In Danny's Doodles: The Jelly Bean Experiment, the odd character is Calvin (not Danny who is Calvin's friend). Calvin is weird, too; instead of bringing belly-button lint to show-and-tell, Calvin makes Danny carry around jelly beans in his pockets for days while conducting an experiment. Instead of putting down certain types of families, the families in Danny's Doodles, even the "different" families, were respected. Where J. J. Dooley is self-centered, annoying, and definitely not a good friend, Calvin's quirks somehow enhance the friendships he makes.

In a nutshell, both of these books are all about the quirky main characters and their goings on at school and home, but where Calvin (of Daddy's Doodles) presents a good model for friendship and acceptance of said quirks, Jasper John Dooley simply makes you want to avoid him.

Will I forbid either book? No. Could I convince either of my boys to read either of these books? Even when I pleaded? No.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

_Goofballs #4: The Mysterious Talent Show Mystery_ by Tony Abbott

Well, the title says it all. This book is goofy, and not in a really cute way. The goofiness is not even clever or funny, it really is just lame. The simple middle school friends basically act goofy while solving a mystery I didn't even find intriguing. And that's it.

This is a book for earlier readers, but I don't think even young and silly children would find this an amazing read.  While there was absolutely nothing objectionable in this read, I couldn't even persuade my boys to give it a quick read to give me their opinion. I think falls in the category of "Why Bother?" I know I certainly won't bother to check out any other titles in the series.