Daywalt, D., & Jeffers, O. (illustrator). (2013). The Day the Crayons Quit. New York: Philomel Books.
Duncan is shocked when instead of his crayons he finds a stack of letters, written by his crayons, announcing that they’ve quit!
This book is creative and humorous. Each page features a letter written by a different coloured crayon and an accompanying illustration. The letters are sassy and comical, and any child (or adult) who has ever coloured will find truth in the letters.
The story is definitely unique and enjoyable. It is rather long for a picture book– there are 13 letters– which means it’s not a great choice for a story time and more likely to be read by older children.
Based on its uniqueness and ingenuity, I give this book a 4.5 out of 5.
Rylander, C. (2012). The Fourth Stall: Part II. New York: Walden Pond Press.
Mac and his gang are back in the second part of Rylander’s trilogy. They’ve taken care of their nemesis (from Part I), and now business is booming. But, of course, things are never simple. In fact, everything gets really complicated the moment Trixie Von Parkway walks into the Fourth Stall, and suddenly Mac must find a way to save his school.
This book is as hilarious, captivating, and enjoyable as the first. Even though it is 281 pages, it reads quickly and readers will be sucked in from the first page. It reminded me a lot of Gordon Korman’s MacDonald Hall series.
There is notably less violence in this story, compared to Part I, since Mac isn’t up against a bully. This time, Mac is up against the Man, or the Suits, as he calls them. Even kids who hate school will feel a tug on their heartstrings and feel sympathetic towards their schools after reading Part II.
Overall, I’d give this book a 4.5 out of 5. Usually, sequels fall short, but Part II is an exception to that. I was sucked in and finished the book before I realized it, which to me is the mark of a great book!
Rylander, C. (2011). The Fourth Stall. New York: Walden Pond Press.
“Do you need something? Mac can get it for you. It’s what he does.”
Mac runs a tight operation in his school, doing favours for his peers and getting them what they need: candy, sick notes, hall passes, video games. That is until something happens that threatens not only his business but some of the most important things in his life.
This book is a hilarious play on Mafia classics like The Godfather. (Everyone who saw me reading the book drew the obvious comparison). It is witty and fast-paced, drawing on adult genre and references to make them enjoyable for children, referencing classic movies and referring to petty cash as “Tom Petty cash” because “why call a spade a spade when you can call it whatever you want?” (p.182).
Rylander’s style of humour is reminiscent of Gordon Korman’s and the story reminds me of Disney’s TV show of the late 1990s, Recess.
There is one catch with this story: the violence. There are numerous scenes about fighting and characters getting beaten up. While this is realistic and plays into the mobster genre, it makes this a book for older children. It is recommended for children 8-12, but I would say that it would be more appropriate for 10-14 year olds.
Aside from this, The Fourth Stall is a hilarious and enjoyable read. It’s quick-witted and sassy, and the characters are funny and relatable. For the right reader, this is a great book! For that, I give it a 4.5 out of 5!
Korman, G. (2007). Son of the Mob. Listening Library. Retrieved from http://elnb-bnnb.lib.overdrive.com/FDC8E104-1046-4D83-AFF1-79F1AFA35BDF/10/50/en/ContentDetails.htm?id=DF993C4D-FC2B-43A6-A6BF-2E0E449E347A
Vince Luca is like any other high school kid. He’s just trying to pass his classes and maybe find a girlfriend. Except, there’s one thing that sets Vince Luca apart from his classmates: his father is a mob boss.
Told with Korman’s trademark humour, Son of the Mob is the young adult perspective of Mafia classics like The Godfather. It has the classic elements of young adult literature: identity struggle, family issues, love, heartbreak, planning for the future. This means that any readers could relate to Vince, even if their own father isn’t a mob boss. Guys and girls alike can get wrapped up in Vince’s world.
Readers can also continue to fulfill their Mafia obsessions with the sequel Son of the Mob 2: Hollywood Hustle, which follows Vince to college.
The audiobook version brings the story even further to life with Max Casella’s classic New York mobster’s accent.
This book is, without a doubt, a 5. Korman’s humour alone is superb. Paired with the well-developed storyline and hilarious characters, this book is a must-read (or a must-listen, if, like me, you choose to listen to the audiobook).