Geek Love Discussion Post!

GeekLoveRAL

All right y’all. It’s time to tell us. Did you read the book? DID YOU FINISH? We must know these things. Here are some questions to help prod you on:

  1. Geek Love was written in the early eighties. How does it reflect and satirize American culture at that time?
  2. How difficult is it to suspend disbelief and enter into the fictional world of Geek Love? What are the rewards of doing so?
  3. How do the twins, Iphy and Elly, Arty, Chick, and Oly relate to each other? What roles do they play? How does Arty gain control over them?
  4. In what ways does the novel seek to shock readers? What preconceptions does it try to overturn? How does it manage to be both engaging and deeply disturbing?

If you post to your own blog, be sure to link up here! Or feel free to discuss in the comments. Mwah!

100 Chapter Books Project: My Father’s Dragon

MyFathersDragonRight in the middle of the Top 100 Chapter Books list, at number 49, is My Father’s Dragon (1948) by Ruth Stiles Gannett. Frankly, I was a little surprised to see it on the list because it’s more a chapter book/picture book hybrid, suitable for a much younger audience than almost all of the other books on the list. However, I also bought this book when Z was a toddler and we read it together at bedtime when he was a preschooler and both loved it so I’m happy I got a chance to read it again!

What it’s about: The author tells the story about her father, Elmer Elevator. It’s the tale of how he left home on the advice of an alley cat and set out to find and free a captive baby dragon on Wild Island.

Age level: Grades 0-3

fathersdragonmap

Best part: I honestly love this map the most. It’s so funny and once you read the story and go back to it, you feel like you’re in on all of the secrets. I wish my copy had this beautiful color map that is in the original.

Worst part: I really regret never picking up the other two books that came after this one — Elmer and the Dragon and The Dragons of Blueland. Now I want to know what happened with these two escapees!

Verdict: Buy

This is a great transitional story from picture to chapter books, either when it’s time to move forward in bedtime stories or when young ones are ready to read it themselves. I love that the book was a collaboration between a stepdaughter (writer) and stepmother (illustrator) too.

Next up is another reread for me — The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I’ve already read it twice but it’s a beautiful book so I’m excited to revisit it.

*****
Schedule – March through May
March 15 – #39 The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (2007)
March 30 – #5 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (1950)
April 15 – #71 Each Little Bird That Sings by Deborah Wiles (2005)
April 30 – Spring Break
May 15 – #31 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865)
May 31 – #4 The Giver by Lois Lowry (1993)

100 Chapter Books Project: Because of Winn-Dixie

WinnDixie1

Because of Winn-Dixie (2000) by Kate DiCamillo is all the way up at number 20 on the Top 100 Chapter Books list and yet I had never read it. I had read a couple of her other books and loved them but I’m not a huge fan of dog books so I never planned on reading this one. So it turns out that, for the past 15 years, I’ve been missing out on a modern classic. This is why I love this project!

What it’s about: Opal is new to Naomi, Florida and has yet to make a real friend when fate puts a stray dog in her path. On the spot, she names him Winn-Dixie and takes him home to meet her father. Both of them see something special in the dirty, mangy dog and he quickly becomes part of their small family. As Opal begins to make friends around town, Winn-Dixie is always there with his doggie smile.

Age level: Grades 3-5

Best part: The unconventional friendships. Not only does Opal befriend a lonely, elderly librarian and an almost-blind shut-in, but also a man who has mean rumors going around about him and some other kids who each have their own problems and worries. None of these friendships seem forced and they all teach a lesson without being too obvious about it.

Worst part: Making me cry with its thoughtfulness and kindness. When Opal first meets Gloria Dump, the elderly shut-in, Gloria says “You know, my eyes ain’t too good at all. I can’t see nothing but the general shape of things, so I got to rely on my heart. Why don’t you go on and tell me everything about yourself, so as I can see you with my heart.” If only everyone saw others this way instead of judging based on appearances.

Verdict: Buy

I was expecting to just get through this book but instead I ended up loving it. I listened to it on audio straight through one afternoon, partly because it was due back to the library in a couple of days but also because the story was fantastic. The story line about Opal’s mom leaving her and her dad totally reminded me of Pretty in Pink. Gloria Dump and Miss Franny Block were recognizable types of characters too and yet fresh and believable as well. Even Otis, the ex-con pet store worker, is so much more than you expect him to be. And let’s not forget Winn-Dixie, who steals everyone’s hearts and is the means to more than one mended soul. This book will be one that I promote and gift regularly!

My Father’s Dragon is a reread for me, a book that I hadn’t heard of despite its age until I bought it while Z was young and we read it as a bedtime book. I remember it being good but haven’t revisited it since. I’m excited to pick it up again.

*****
Schedule – February through April
February 28 – #49 My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett (1948)
March 15 – #39 The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (2007)
March 30 – #5 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (1950)
April 15 – #71 Each Bird That Sings by Deborah Wiles (2005)
April 30 – Spring Break
May 15 – #31 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865)