100 Chapter Books Project: Flipped

Flipped_by_Wendelin_Van_Draanen

I seem to have hit a rough patch in my Top 100 Chapter Books project. This latest read, Flipped (2001) by Wendelin Van Draanen was at #92 on the list so it wasn’t incredibly popular but there were some people who listed it as a favorite. I truly have to wonder why.

What it’s about: The chapters alternate between the viewpoints of Bryce Loski and Julianne Baker from the age of 7 until 8th grade.

Age level: Grades 6-8

Best part: A set of truly loving parents.

Worst part: Calling a mentally-challenged adult “retarded” and “retard” many, many times and then giving him a non-descript mishmash of personality/emotional traits that come from many different conditions. A few moments of thoughtfulness and research would have improved this greatly.

Verdict: Borrow

I finished this book feeling quite underwhelmed. There were things that seemed like they belonged more in a YA novel than a chapter book (like Bryce’s dad accusing two teens of being drug dealers). There was also the strangeness of a book that focuses on what is eventually a potential romantic relationship between pre-teens. Multiple times the parents of these kids see a glimmer of attraction between them and give a knowing look or try to kindle the relationship and it’s frankly creepy, especially when it happens on the day they meet when the kids are only seven years old. Even Bryce’s grandpa implies that Bryce should appreciate Juli’s uniqueness and look at her differently, in the way grandpa did with grandma when he fell in love with her. This is when the kids are in SIXTH GRADE. The dialogue is also poorly written in places, using words and phrases that kids just wouldn’t use. It makes the story awkward, again like an adult speaking for children.

I did like seeing the events from two different points of view and I think the message that you shouldn’t judge someone else’s life without knowing their full story is always an important one for kids. Still, I’m sure there are better stories out there that touch on some of the same issues.

Thank goodness for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I’m so relieved to be reading it next!

*****
Schedule – February through May
February 28 – #61 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (1964)
March 15 – #40 Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli (1990)
March 31 – #24 Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary (1968)
April 15 – #69 The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan (2006)
April 30 – Spring Break
May 15 – #45 Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell (1960)

100 Chapter Books Project: Winnie the Pooh

winniethepooh

Though it is for a younger audience than almost all of the other books on the Top 100 Chapter Books list, Winnie the Pooh (1926) by A.A. Milne nevertheless has chapters and is a perennial favorite so here it is at number 26.

What it’s about: A silly old bear and his boy have adventures in the Hundred Acre Woods with their friends Piglet, Rabbit, Eeyore, Owl, Kanga, and Roo.

Age level: Grades 3+

Best part: The familiarity of these stories is lovely and makes me happy.

Worst part: The narrator sometimes interferes with the stories and takes a bit of the magic out of them.

Verdict: Buy

I felt like I had read this story a million times but, in fact, it turns out that I’ve mostly been watching the Disney versions of the Pooh tales. There are some parts that are better in one than the other and vice versa. I think kids will love the slightly happier Eeyore in the book but probably will like the sweeter Piglet of the shows. Also, the Disney dollars are going to keep this story alive for many more years to come.

I feel like I’m in the home stretch of this project now with just 28 books to go. I’ll finish up a year from April so, if you’re getting tired of seeing chapter book reviews, you just have to put up with them for 16 more months (::wink::)! I have quite a few books coming up that I’ve never read and probably never intended to read so if you have something nice to say about a book you see below, feel free to comment on it!

*****
Schedule – January through April
January 31 – #63 The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson (1978)
February 15 – #92 Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen (2001)
February 28 – #61 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (1964)
March 15 – #40 Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli (1990)
March 31 – #24 Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary (1968)
April 15 – #69 The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan (2006)
April 30 – Spring Break

100 Chapter Books Project: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

hpillustrated

Number 3 on the Top 100 Chapter Books list is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (1997) by J.K. Rowling.

What it’s about: A boy, a scar, a letter, an owl, a friend, a broomstick, an enemy, a cloak, a mirror, a dog, a puzzle, a stone, and a cup. Pretty much.

Age level: Grades 4+

Best part: Oh, everything, of course!

Worst part: I actually found myself thinking that the story moved too fast in parts. One thing I like about the movie is all of the visual detail and I missed some of that while reading. This book is all plot.

Verdict: Buy

What a pleasant, non-stressful re-read for December. I love this story and now I’m totally in the mood to keep going with the rest of the series.

I’ll admit to scheduling a nice easy read for the start of January too — Winnie the Pooh. I absolutely love everything about Winnie the Pooh and Z loved it when he was little. The other night we were choosing a movie to watch during dinner and he chose The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh even though he’s eleven. Maybe I will be able to get him to sit down and read with me. He has a great Tigger voice! (I’m best at Eeyore.)

*****
Schedule – January through March
January 15 – #26 Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne (1926)
January 31 – #63 The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson (1978)
February 15 – #92 Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen (2001)
February 28 – #61 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (1964)
March 15 – #40 Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli (1990)
March 31 – #24 Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary (1968)