Thursday, January 10, 2013

MMGM: Ungifted and Pickle

Is is still Monday? Gosh, I hope not. How did your first Monday of the New Year go? Mine started with discovering the 5th grader forgot about some homework over the weekend, couldn't find a protractor for him to finish it, telling me he hates me b/c I took his iPOD away for the day, him slipping on ice in the driveway so he had to change clothes and then missing the bus at his home school and having to drive him to his actual school. The day improved slightly when my friend came over and we exchanged holiday gifts, but then reverted when my 2-year-old screamed his head off because he doesn't understand the concept of sharing with his little friend. He is fine at public places and other kids' houses, but apparently HIS toys are sacred. Anyway, onto the books!

If I had gotten this done yesterday then I was going to call it Wonderful Middle Grade Wednesday but it just didn't have the same ring as MMGM. And I'm drawing a blank for a "marvelous" word that starts with a T. So even though it is Thursday, here is my MMGM.

Since starting to read and participate in MMGM posts I have to admit, a lot of the books I read are recommendations from other MMGMers (just finished Liar and Spy) and sometimes I feel like I am just talking about what has already been talked about. So I chose two books for today. Ungifted by Gordon Korman, which I think I first heard about on Joanne Fritz's blog and Pickle by Kim Baker, which I don't think I have seen on MMGM and is written by the Co-Regional Advisor of the Western WA SCBWI.

Book Description from Amazon - The word gifted has never been applied to a kid like Donovan Curtis. It's usually more like Don't try this at home. So when the troublemaker pulls a major prank at his middle school, he thinks he's finally gone too far. But thanks to a mix up by one of the administrators, instead of getting into trouble, Donovan is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction (ASD), a special program for gifted and talented students.

It wasn't exactly what Donovan had intended, but there couldn't be a more perfect hideout for someone like him. That is, if he can manage to fool people whose IQs are above genius level. And that becomes harder and harder as the students and teachers of ASD grow to realize that Donovan may not be good at math or science (or just about anything). But after an ongoing experiment with a live human (sister), an unforgettably dramatic middle-school dance, and the most astonishing come-from-behind robot victory ever, Donovan shows that his gifts might be exactly what the ASD students never knew they needed.

Book Description from Amazon -
This is the story of the LEAGUE OF PICKLEMAKERS.
Ben: who began it all by sneaking in one night and filling his homeroom with ball pit balls.
Frank: who figured out that an official club, say a pickle-making club, could receive funding from the PTA.

Oliver: who once convinced half the class that his real parents had found him and he was going to live in a submarine.

Bean: who wasn't exactly invited, but her parents own a costume shop, which comes in handy if you want to dress up like a giant squirrel and try to scare people at the zoo.

TOGETHER they are an unstoppable prank-pulling force, and Fountain Point Middle School will never be the same.

Why they are Marvelous: Both of these books have a humorous slant to them which I enjoy. But what I think is key to middle grade literature are the ups and downs and bonds of friendship. In both of these stories the main character has trouble with his best friend/s as the events in his life start a series of changes. Will their friendships be able to endure these changes and come out stronger in the end, or will their differences become too much for them to handle? I thought both authors dealt with this aspect of the story well and that is what I remembered most from each book.

Happy Monday... I mean Thursday!

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (MMGM) was created by Shannon Messenger. To find other bloggers participating in MMGM go to her blog for a list of links.