Friday, August 27, 2010

Another Book for Labor Day

While you are tossing books into your bag for a 3 day weekend of reading, here’s one for the middle grader who is sometimes ambivalent about his reading tastes. As an author in schools, I’ve had 5th grade boys tell me they wish authors would write about something other than sports for boys in their age group. They haven’t given up on reading–yet--but they are looking for reasons to abandon the book. Here’s one I read when it first came out and after a second reading, I still like it. No sports, promise.

MASTERPIECE by Elise Broach, illustrated by Kelly Murphy, Christy Ottaviano Books, 2008

James worries about all sorts of things, much the same way many 11 year old boys worry. His parents are divorced and he has a new step-dad and a new baby brother. Add to this mix the kids his age that his mother insists be his friends because they are children of her clients or those whom she wants to be her clients.

Marvin is a sweet little beetle who has a code of honor and parents who expect him to be on time for dinner. Sometimes this is a little hard to pull off when you are busy saving your human friend and solving an art heist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Marvin is also a brave little beetle as readers will discover. And, oh, yes, he is a talented artist.

The two lives parallel each other until a special connection is made between James and Marvin.

Be honest. At some time in your life, haven’t you wished a friendly little beetle would rescue you?

And to think, this all started when the author lost her contact lense down the bathroom drain.

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