Whales on Stilts by MT Anderson & Knots in My Yo-Yo String by Jerry Spinelli

In October, the Tweens Book Group read Whales on Stilts by MT Anderson. I thought it was a really good book. I especially liked the author’s sense of humor, though I think some of the jokes may be too subtle and could easily be lost on some younger readers. One example — Larry’s face looked like a “mixture of seafood and unsuccessful rhinoplasty.” Don’t know what rhinoplasty is? Look it up! If you don’t mind keeping your dictionary handy and learning a few new words, you will probably be rolling on the floor right along with the adults. If you like to laugh a lot, this book is for you! I won’t give away too much of the plot, but just think about this — if you found out that whales with mechanical stilts, misting devices, and lasers were going to invade dry land, how would you convince other people to be careful? What would you do if you and your two best friends had to defeat these whales all by yourselves? Read this book and find out what Lily, Katie, and Jasper did… and whether it worked!

For November, the Tweens Book Group read Knots in My Yo-Yo String: The Autobiography of a Kid by Jerry Spinelli. I would be surprised if any tween could honestly tell me that he or she has never heard of Jerry Spinelli — since he has written Maniac Magee, Who Put That Hair in My Toothbrush?, The Library Card, Stargirl, Wringer, Crash, Loser, and the list goes on! (He has won several awards, too.) Since so many tweens love his books, I thought it would be fun to read about Jerry Spinelli’s childhood; to compare his childhood to our own. The one thing that surprised me was that he … Oh wait! I don’t want to give anything away. Let me just say that it was an interesting book, with some very funny memories and some facts about Jerry that you may be surprised to learn. OK… I’m gonna give just one thing away! I loved it when he talked about getting all dressed up in his cowboy suit and wearing it to school. I felt humiliated for him because I have done similarly crazy things as a kid. If you want to learn anything else about Jerry Spinelli’s childhood, though, you are going to have to read the book — my lips are sealed!

OK… That’s it for now. Happy Reading!


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