The book seems confused about whether it wants to be a graphic novel or a textual novel. Even on the cover, the illustrator’s name is conspicuously mi...moreThe book seems confused about whether it wants to be a graphic novel or a textual novel. Even on the cover, the illustrator’s name is conspicuously missing. The text is so thorough that the drawings do not always add anything to the reader’s understanding of the plot. It seems like the drawings were somewhat unnecessary and were added in parallel to the text rather than united with it. The drawings are useful, however, in illuminating Rafe’s feelings of anger or sadness, particularly when we look at how Laura Park drew body language.
Middle School would be a good read for youths in grades five through seven who can stick with a book long enough to access a deeper story than the Diary of a Wimpy Kid they read as kids. It seems, at first, to be an alarmingly detailed guide on how to rebel against the establishment. But bright readers will be able to discern the difference between the plot’s happenings and the lessons the book is trying to teach. (less)
Horton Halfpott is a playful poke at English Victorian aristocracy, written by Tom Angleberger with clever satire from an intimate, judgmental narrato...moreHorton Halfpott is a playful poke at English Victorian aristocracy, written by Tom Angleberger with clever satire from an intimate, judgmental narrator. When we meet Horton, he is a lowly kitchen boy tirelessly scrubbing dishes day in and out for a penny per week. His employers, Lady Luggertuck and her horrid son, Luther, live a ridiculously high life while the servants are kept on gruel and bread crusts (one crust per day, mind you). Horton meets and falls in love with wealthy Miss Celia Sylvan-Smythe, who is clearly above his station and seems to return the affection. When a series of thefts occurs in Smugwick Manor, a hunt for the thief ensues. The story wraps up with a romantic and entirely satisfying ending.
Humorous tween readers who are looking for something a little outside the typical realistic or historical fiction stories will appreciate Horton Halfpott. It’s a silly romp that includes a mystery, a tame romance, slapstick humor and crazy mistaken identities. The zaniness is anchored in “real” issues of class and society. Horton Halfpott is Upstairs Downstairs on a birthday-party sugar high. (less)