Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Rescuing Halloween

You may not know Halloween needs rescuing. Contrast your own Trick or Treat days with today. Did you spend hours pondering, deciding, and creating your own costume? Did you and your friends scurry the length and breadth of your neighborhood loading down your decorated grocery bags with all sorts of chocolate and caramel rewards for your scavenging?

You might miss the creativity or the freedom, or maybe your own childhood. It’s enough to make a person put up posters: Missing! Halloween!

CALLIE’S RULES by Naomi Zucker, Egmont, 2009.

“Only Callie can save Halloween...if she can figure out the rules.” shouts the blurb on the cover of this introspective middle grade novel. Callie (Calliope Jones)is in 6th grade. Although the cover leads the reader to think this is a Halloween book, and it is, it is really about middle school relationships and conformity and thinking for one’s self

Callie’s mother is a free spirit, an artist who welds metal sculptures. Her dad is a lawyer. There are 7 kids in the lively household. Callie is beyond bright and is exempt from the pre-tests the other students must take. She has extra time to read and her current choice is Jane Eyre, a novel which provides Callie with a few well timed references. At the end of each chapter Callie summarizes her observations as rules. She grows, the plot advances, and the conclusion is both chaotic and warm hearted.

Did Callie save Halloween? Your 4th-6th grade readers have time to find out before the 31st.

Memo to parents and kids: This is a treat.

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