Wow, January kind of flew by, didn’t it? We need some actual content around here, so let’s talk about the books I read to desperately try to hit my goodreads goal in the last few days of 2019. (Can you say reading slump?)
If you’re new around here, Things I’ve Read Recently is a series of posts I do that are basically mini-reviews of books that I either forgot to review, didn’t have enough to say for a full review, or just didn’t want to do a full post about for whatever reason.
Charlotte the Starlet by Barbara Ware Holmes
Published: Goodreads says April 1st, 1989, but my copy has an 1988 copyright date so who knows. It was published by Harper Trophy.
Genre: Contemporary MG
Page Count: 120
Part of a series? There are other books featuring these characters, but the continuity doesn’t matter.
Got via: I think I bought it at a garage sale.
Summary (from goodreads): Charlotte Cheetham’s done it at last. She’s stopped telling tall tales and started writing a book. It’s called Fat Pat Flack, and it’s really gross. Everyone at school thinks it’s great – even Tina, who usually hates anything Charlotte does.
But being popular is confusing. Are Charlotte’s fans two-faced rats who want to take over her book, as her best friend, Annie, claims? Or is Annie just jealous? And what happens when Charlotte doesn’t write what her fans want to hear? Charlotte soon finds that even though she’s a star, she’s in as much trouble as ever!
Thoughts: Like not to be mean, but this book was really dull. It’s – have you ever seen that Arthur episode where Fern draws a mean comic strip of Francine and everyone gets really excited about it? It’s like that, but not as interesting. Ala Booklist apparently though this would be a good read for kids looking for somthing funny, and I honestly can’t see it. There’s nothing funny here.
Also, honestly, the fatmisic language just got super old, and the book’s illustrations are kind of ugly. There’s nothing appealing about them at all. This has not aged particularly well, and I do not care to keep it on my shelf, so I’ll be passing this one along.
Please Remove Your Elbow From My Ear by Martyn Godfrey
Published: July 7th, 1993 by Avon Books
Genre: Contemporary… MG probably?
Page Count: 122 plus an about the author and some advertising for other books.
Part of a series? I don’t believe so.
Got via: Library reject.
Summary (from goodreads): Stormy Sprague is convinced he’s always in trouble because he just can’t think or act like everyone else. One minute he’s being pushed around; the next he’s in trouble with a teacher and serving time in detention with all the other “misfits”. Who would think the bunch they call “the dregs of the detention dungeon” would form a floor hockey team and have the nerve to compete against the unbeatable Screaming Eagles?
The challenge is one big joke as far as the Screaming Eagles are concerned. But these wiseguys underestimate Stormy and the Dregs who have their own game plan – for dealing with bullies, and for winning the trophy cup. And it’s all based on being just a bunch of nuts!
Thoughts: So this is a book about sports. I am not into sports very much at all. So this is not so much the book for me just on that aspect alone. If you like underdog sports stories, you might be more into that, but that kind of story just isn’t for me.
I will give it props for showing girls playing floor hockey, and having the teams be mixed by default, and no one making a big deal out of that. It’s just how the school is doing it, not something the girls have to fight for, and no one acts like girls can’t play sports or keep up with boys. There are girl characters who are way more into sports, and a lot better at them, than some of the boy characters, and that’s just treated as normal. The girls, for the most part, also do have personalities. Which, you know, doesn’t always happen in books written by men aimed more at boys, let’s be honest.
This also had some funny moments. I wasn’t crying from laughter, but I smiled a few times. This is also one of those weird 90s books where the characters are twelve and in seventh grade, but reads like they’re fifteen or sixteen. It’s an interesting thing that happened in the 80s and 90s before the boundaries of middle grade and young adult were more firmly defined.
Anyways, not the worst thing I’ve read but I don’t feel the need to keep this one. I did laugh at the dates inside though – my library used to stamp the due date on the inside cover of books, so this book was taken out October 1994, July 1995, and April 2005. There may have been an index card paperclipped to the first page at some point with other dates, but who took this book out in 2005? Was it me? It might have been me. I read a lot of books from our library in 2005.
Also I just found out Martyn Godfrey died in 2000, and I’m sad now. You were awesome, dude. I’m pouring a bag of barbecue chips out for you.
Could Dracula Live in Woodford? by Mary Howarth
Published: Sometime in 1983 by Kids Can Press
Genre: Contemporary MG
Page Count: 157 pages exactly
Part of a series? Not that I am aware of.
Got via: It is also a library reject.
Summary (from goodreads): When ten-year-old Jennie discovers that she can communicate with her neighbor’s dog, they join forces to spy on an elderly recluse suspected of being a vampire.
Thoughts: Why was this so much fun? This alternates between Jennie’s POV and Sam’s POV. Sam being the dog. Which honestly is kind of hilarious, but also fun – kind of like how Bunnicula is narrated from the dog’s POV, you know, if you’ve ever read that. You just can’t take this type of thing too seriously.
Woodford is a real place in Ontario, and it’s a very Canadian book. It’s really just cute and fun and honestly I’m going to keep this one XD I was surprisingly charmed by it. Honestly, yeah, it’s a little dated, but mostly in an amusing way (seventy-five cents a day! What a score!) and I liked it.
Sophie Hits Six by Dick King-Smith
Published: Originally published in 1991, I think the edition I have came in 1995 from Candlewick.
Genre: Contemporary MG
Page Count: 127
Part of a series? This is book three of the Sophie series,
Got via: Library reject
Summary (from goodreads): Sophie, the small but determined would-be farmer of Sophie’s Snail and Sophie’s Tom, turns six on Christmas Day. With a new pet and a new best friend (who lives on a real farm) she’s well on her way to reaching her goal of becoming a farmer. Now, if she can just convince her parents that a puppy would be the perfect present…
Thoughts: This was adorable. It’s very British and pretty old-fashioned. It’s definitely set in the late 80s or early 90s (Princess Diana is mentioned and… well, alive) but there’s also minimal technology and Sophie’s school performs a nativity play. That is, to be fair, at least thirty years ago if not more. It’s just a much gentler setting in most ways.
Also I love Sophie. She’s just quietly stubborn and kind of hilarious at times. I liked how her parents didn’t cave to her every demand, but they do have their soft moments and care about what she wants. It’s a very balanced parenting style, which MG like this doesn’t always strike. I’d gladly put Sophie next to Ramona and Julie B. Jones on my “classic MG” list, especially for any kid who’s a big animal lover. Would recommend, would read more of these, and I am keeping this one.
Interesting round up this time! What have you all been reading? Anything weird?
Peace and cookies,