Chris's Reviews > Me and Rolly Maloo

Me and Rolly Maloo by Janet S. Wong
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Apr 17, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: graphic, j, life, not-graphic

I’m trying to decide how I feel about this book; trying to understand my reaction. It’s a mix of things, which makes sense, because the book is a hybrid in a number of ways. It’s about half text and half graphic novel. Half focused directly on Jenna Lee, the “Me” of the title, and half on the other characters. A little more than half of the book’s attention is devoted to the kids involved in the story, but plenty is spared for the adults. It’s technically about cheating on a test, but it’s also about interpersonal dynamics, peer pressure, gossip and rumors, education, respect, bullying, and classism, if not more. There’s so much here--especially for a quick, easy read about fourth graders in a single situation--that’s it’s hard to digest it all.

Rarely have I seen a book for readers this young deal so honestly and directly with adults as flawed, imperfect people no different than their children. I love that as an adult reader; but I’m not sure how kids will react to it. And I’d love to know. Which leads me to a potential conclusion I can state about Me and Rolly Maloo: While I enjoyed reading this book for myself, I think it’s one most ideally read in a group setting. The more I think about it, the more convinced I become that this would make a great choice for a young (or parent-child) book club to read together and discuss. I imagine there would be no end to the discussions that would come out of this book, precisely because it has so much going on in it.
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