Skinny Doggy Catty Wormy


055) The Skin I'm In by Sharon G. Flake, finished September 27

This is one of the most popular books with my Read 180 students, so I thought I should give it a spin.

Maleeka is a junior-high girl with lousy friends, a dead dad, a hidden literary talent---typical stuff for a book like this, I imagine. And over the course of the novel she moves through a terrible funk with the help of a good teacher and a cute boy patiently waiting for her to be ready for him. You know.

As a teacher, I'm a little annoyed by the corporate woman sweeping in and becoming a school's One Good Teacher. But that's another cliche that will play well.

I'm not surprised unsophisticated readers like the cliches. And I'm not surprised the demographics latch on to this protagonist.

And although my tone is really brushoffish right now, I don't mean to be that way. It's a fine book and I love it because it's often the one book over a hundred pages I'll see a student finish. Major props for that success, Flake. Nice work. Keep the books coming.


054) Lote That Dog by Sharon Creech, finished September 25

053) Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech, finished September 24

Tomorrow I anticipate finishing Love That Dog (again) as we're reading it in my AP class as a bit of poetry lite to start the year. And since I was at the library tonight, I decided to finally pick up this book and see what I thought.

It was . . . okay.

Love That Dog is a simple and moving pastiche, looking at an old story through a kid learning to appreciate poetry. Hate That Cat tries to do the same thing with another old story. But this time, the kid's poetic development is far less interesting, leaving the Big Story without the strong parallel structure that makes Love That Dog so successful. Plus, the kid's older and getting obnoxious.

In short, if you like the first book, this will take you no time to read so why not. But if you never get around to it, you ain't missing much.
an hour if that


052) Wormwood, Gentleman Corpse: It Only Hurts When I Pee by Ben Templesmith, finished September 24

The latest in a string of totally inappropriate comics recommended to me by students. This one is about a worm who, um, drives corpses around, and has so for millenia. Bad luck, in this volume, he gets bitten by a leprechaun which means he must be kissed by their queen or finally die. Etc etc.

In fact, although this book is a vehicle for gore and violence and naked succubi and nasty sight gags, it's also a pretty smart read. I enjoyed it. Though I would never ever buy it. Not the sort of thing I would want my kids stumbling across.

I will say I like Templesmith's art with has a very DaveMcKeany sensibility.

couple weeks as I thought about it

Previously in 2012 . . . . :

Read the reviews of 49-51.
051) The Zabîme Sisters by Aristophane, finished September 20
050) Little Death by Thomas Kriebaum, finished September 16
049) God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut, finished September 11

Read the reviews of 44-48.
048) American Nerd: The Story of My People by Benjamin Nugent, finished September 7
047) Powers by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming, finished September 6
046) Simply Science by a number of authors and illustrators for All Aboard Reading, finished September 5
045) Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach, finished September 3
044) The Strange Case of the Walking Corpse: A Chronicle of Medical Mysteries, Curious Remedies, and Bizarre but True Healing Folklore by Nancy Butcher, finished August 27

Read the reviews of 40-43.
043) How to Analyze the Works of Stephenie Meyer by Marcela Kostihova, finished August 13
042) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, finished August 10
041) Captain America: Man Out of Time by Mark Waid and Jorge Molina, finished August 1
040) If You Believe in Mermaids . . . Don't Tell by A.A. Philips, finished July 28

Read the reviews of 37-39.
039) The Smartest Man in Ireland by Mollie Hunter, finished July 27
038) Blockade Billy / Morality by Stephen King, finished July 12
037) Dispirited by Luisa M. Perkins, finished July 9

Read the reviews of 34-36.
036) Hyperion by Dan Simmons, finished July 2
035) A Short Stay in Hell by Steven L. Peck, finished June 27
034) Kampung Boy by Lat, finished June 22

Read the reviews of 29-33.
034) The Giant Joshua by Maurine Whipple, finished June 20
033) Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl, finished June 18
032) Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart, "finished" June 18
031) Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese, "finished" June 15
030) The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon, finished June 9
029) Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick, finished early June

Read the reviews of 25-28.
028) Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, finished May 24
027) The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan, finished May 16
026) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, finished May 10
025) Dominant Traits by Eric Freeze, finished April 10

Read the reviews of 21-24.
024) The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr., and E.B. White, finished April 2
023) UNTITLED MS by Kyle Jepson, finished March 12, 2012
022) The Complete Peanuts 1981-1982 by Charles M. Schulz, finished March 4
021) The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex, finished March 3

Read the reviews of 14-20.
020) Billy Hazelnuts by Tony Millionaire, finished February 25
019) Good-bye, Chunky Rice by Craig Thompson, finished February 26
018) Madman 20th Anniversary Monster HC by [everybody], finished February 25
017) Billy Hazelnuts and Crazy Bird by Tony Millionaire, finished February 25
016) Billy Hazelnuts by Tony Millionaire, finished February 25
015) Habibi by Craig Thompson, finished February 20
014) The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: 1910 by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill, finished February 15

Read the reviews of 12-13.
013) Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell, finished February 12
012) Black Hole by Charles Burns, finished February 11

Read the reviews of 6-11.
011) The Complete Peanuts: 1979-1980 by Charles M. Schulz, finished February 4
010) Blankets by Craig Thompson, finished February 4
009) Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, finished February 2
008) The Millstone Necklace (forthcoming) by S.P. Bailey, finished January 31
007) American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, finished January 27
006) Across a Harvested Field by Robert Goble, finished January 23

Read the reviews of 1-5.
005) Hark! a Vagrant! by Kate Beaton, finished January 21
004) The Death of a Disco Dancer by David Clark, finished January 12
003) Bucketfoot Al: The Baseball Life of Al Simmons by Clifton Blue Parker, finished January 9
002) Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror by Chris Priestly, finished January 9
001) What of the Night? by Stephen Carter, finished January 5

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