A BOUNTY OF THANKSGIVING READS

Did a little reading between sporting events this weekend…The three books I read range from easy to medium to pretty difficult.

LIKE PICKLE JUICE ON A COOKIE is a book I have been reading about for the past six months. Finally saw it during a trip to the library on Friday. It's an easy chapter book, told in verse, perfect for those kidlets who are just making their way into novels. Eleanor Kane, has had the same babysitter for eight years, actually since she was born. Now Bibi's father is very ill, however, and she must move to Florida to care for him. Eleanor misses Bibi horribly, but comes to love her new sitter, the mancala playing Natalie. A great little book about saying goodbye, about grieving, and about starting over again…


TROUBLEMAKER is Andrew Clements' newest, or maybe just one of his newest. Clayton is a sixth grade troublemaker, with a two inch thick behavior file to prove it. When the book opens, he is in art class, drawing a caricature of his principal, Mr. Kelling, disguised as a donkey (WARNING: the word in used the book is jack***, which some people may find offensive). He can't wait to show the picture to Mitch, his older brother and role model, newly released froma 30-day prison stay. Mitch, however, is not as excited about the picture as Clay thought he would be. It seems that Mitchell has learned some invaluable lessons in prison, and wants his brother to change. That weekend, he takes Clayton to the mall to reshape his image, then it's up to Clay to prove he really has changed. Clayton soon discovers, however, that change is hard and getting people believe you have changed is harder still…


BREADCRUMBS, by Anne Ursu, is the third book I read this weekend. I feel like I need to preface this review with a warning. I am not an allegory reader. I'm one of the few teachers I know who doesn't especially like MANIAC MAGEE. I think it's really well-written, I think it's got great life lessons, I know most people love it, but I just didn't much care for it. I have never read it aloud in a classroom, nor have I handed it to a kid to read. I'm also not a big fantasy lover. I only read 1.5 of the HARRY POTTER books and have only seen a couple of the movies.

Even so, I loved BREADCRUMBS. BREADCRUMBS is the story of Hazel and Jack, ten-year-olds who have been best friends for a long time. This year, however, things have changed . Hazel's mom and dad have split up. Hazel has been forced to leave a private school, where she was viewed as artsy and creative and wonderful, and attend a more traditional public school, where her dreaminess and creativity is viewed much less positively. The only good thing about the public school is that Jack also attends there, but then he stops talking to her…

It turns out that Jack has been hit in the eye by the shard of a mirror, broken by a goblin in a faraway world. Jack's heart is frozen and he becomes a very different person, eventually leaving all that he loves, including Hazel and his family, to follow the Snow Queen into the frozen woods. Hazel, being his best friend, decides she must go after him. On the way, she encounters any number of different friends and enemies, including some who appear to belong in one category, but then end up belonging in the other.

This novel, a takeoff on Han's Christian Anderson's "The Snow Queen" is way, way, way too complicated to try to explain. In fact, I'm not even sure that I'm ready to talk about it, but I'm hoping that some other people will read it and be ready to talk about it. A story of grieving and friendship and oh so much more…