Thursday, February 19, 2015

An Abundance of Katherines

Author:  John Green

Rating:  0 stars out of 3 possible  ("D/F")
             Not Recommended

Audience:  High School

John Green, author of The Fault In Our Stars, is the latest, greatest writer to reach our teens and relate to them in all their self-indulgent angst.

Now, my thirteen year old has plenty of unsupervised lunch time at the public middle school and she's plenty old enough to check out her own books and basically read whatever she wants.  But that doesn't mean she always should.  And, she's bright enough to make quality choices.  But that doesn't mean she always will.

So when she brought An Abundance of Katherines home from the county library, a quick perusal of the jacket flaps told me instantly this was probably not a book I could endorse in my home.  First of all, it was all about 18 year old boys on a "find ourselves" road trip.

Wayside School Series

Titles:  Sideways Stories from Wayside School; Wayside School is Falling Down; Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger

Author:  Louis Sachar

Rating:  0 stars out of 3 possible, "D/F"
             Not Recommended

Audience:  Second grade and up

I was really hoping to find another fun and funny childhood series along the lines of Frindle (Andrew Clements), Soup (Robert Newton Peck), Henry Huggins (Beverly Cleary), or at least Junie B. Jones (Barbara Parker) or George Brown, Class Clown (Nancy Krulik).  Unfortunately, the two titles I read in this series were more ridiculous than funny, and not very clever.  I can handle silly and ridiculous, if there is a measure of clever thrown in.  But without the cleverness, you just have post-modern random-ness.

Of course, this can appeal to a lot of second graders, but parents who are trying to engage their families with more compelling, thoughtful materials might be disappointed.  This is especially true because we know the Louis Sachar who wrote Holes, which was both hilarious and clever/thought-provoking.  So, for your information, Wayside School is not Holes.