Monday, August 24, 2009
I'm A Sucker for a School Bus
I saw the cover of Gordon Korman's Schooled and knew I had to pick it up. I'm a sucker for a yellow school bus. I've always been that way; it's not just these last weeks of kids home on summer vacation talking. I've bought yellow school bus shaped cookies, PostIt notes, pencil boxes, and rulers in my day. This past weekend while my kids were oohing and ahhing over funky Habitrail type cages for their pet gerbil, I was trying to convince them that a little yellow school bus shaped one with a handle would be perfect for Mario, our family pet. They nixed my suggestion, but I bought the Korman book. I'm glad I did. It's a funny and satisfying read for tweens, telling the story of Capricorn (Cap) Anderson who was raised on a farm commune and home schooled by his grandmother named Rain. When Rain has to stay in a hospital after falling out of a tree picking plums, Cap ends up living with a social worker and her teenage daughter and attending a public middle school. There is a great deal of fish out of water humor. Can you imagine a teenaged, sandal wearing, tye died hippie who's never watched television in your local eighth grade? It's not just outsider gags though. There is a lot for young readers to think about in terms of what makes someone popular and how they respond to teasing and unkindness. I'm glad the cover sucked me in. It worked its charm on my nine year old daughter too. She saw the book on my night table and uttered "Ooooh. Can I read this after you?" However, she might also have been attracted by the author's name. She's a big Gordon Korman fan.