Saturday, February 26, 2011

8-Year-Old Boy Books of the Week: Alvin Ho, Kit Feeny, My Mom the Pirate

Here are Tintin's favorites from the past week:

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things
Author/illustrator: Lenore Look/LeUyen Pham
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (July 2008)
Source: Public library

Alvin Ho is a second grader who's so allergic to school that he can't talk when he's there. He's fine when he's around school kids before and after school and he can't stop talking when he's with his family, but when there's a teacher or other unfamiliar adult around, the words don't come out. Alvin has a lot to worry about: finding friends, being seen with a girl even though she has a cool eye patch and a peg leg, getting chicken pox so he can stay home from school, and having the best show-and-tell but not being able to tell.

Not only is the book funny, it's also educational. There's a glossary filled with information on baseball, literature, art, music and history. Alvin's family is Chinese-American, and so we learn  the words Alvin uses for his grandparents and that he likes dragon's beard candy but not kimchi or wasabi (just like Tintin). Alvin lives in Concord, Massachusetts, and so we learn about the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War. We're exposed to Shakespeare when Alvin's dad gets mad, because he lashes out with Shakespearean curses ("Sorrow on thee, thou spongy onion-eyed hugger-mugger!"); Alvin's brother is determined to learn everything, so he studies the encyclopedia online and we learn various facts (e.g., deer sleep only five minutes a day). And I'm not sure Tintin paid attention to this part, but Alvin focuses a lot on learning how to be a gentleman.

Tintin liked this book so much that he got the second book, Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters, from his school library the day after he finished this one.

Tintin's note: I liked when Alvin was at the piano house and the piano teacher had three fingers and she was 300 years old.

Find it: Amazon, IndieBound

Kit Feeny: On the Move & Kit Feeny: The Ugly Necklace
Author/illustrator: Michael Townsend
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (October 2009)
Source: Public library

In On the Move, Kit Feeny leaves his best friend, Arnold, to move to the city and has trouble coping without him. He tries to find a replacement Arnold but has strict requirements: The new Arnold must like graphic novels and spend hours dreaming he's a monkey. When he doesn't find someone exactly like Arnold and encounters a bully comedian, Kit decides to become a lonesome hobo. In The Ugly Necklace, Kit needs to find the perfect birthday gift for his mom and competes with his twin sisters to see whose present Mom likes better. Kit and his friend come up with what they think is an ingenious plan to buy a diamond necklace, but things go wrong. At the end of each book, Kit learns valuable lessons about friend-making and gift-giving. Tintin recognized the drawing style of Michael Townsend (Amazing Greek Myths of Wonder and Blunders) and so was immediately drawn to the Kit Feeny books.

Tintin's note: I like at the end [of On the Move] when there were bouncy balls and they hit the boys' heads.

Find them: Amazon (On the Move), Amazon (The Ugly Necklace), IndieBound (On the Move), IndieBound (The Ugly Necklace)

My Mom the Pirate
Author/illustrator: Jackie French/Stephen M. King
Publisher: Stone Arch Books (January 2007)
Source: Public library

Cecil's mom is a real-life pirate and the captain of a ship. But Cecil likes books so much that he wants to go to school instead of becoming a pirate like his mom. His mom loves Cecil so much that she captures a wizard to show them how to fulfill Cecil's dream. After learning about a time warp, Cecil starts school in the future but is too embarrassed to reveal his background. Unfortunately for Cecil, open house is coming up and his mom and shipmates find out about it. Although Cecil's mom ends up threatening his teacher with her sword, Cecil tells everyone she has a costume party afterwards, but his principal becomes concerned. All works out in the end, however, when the pirates are the only ones who can help Cecil and his friends escape danger. This book is actually part of the Funny Families series, and Tintin has been wanting to read it ever since he finished My Dad the Dragon.

Tintin's note: I like it because they're all pirates and they don't go to school. I like the wizard.

Find it: Amazon, IndieBound


Julie P. said...

Great reviews as usual. I love Alvin Ho, but I think I need to check out the Funny Family series.

Julie said...

I'm definitely going to check out Alvin Ho. I'm always looking for new series for my son.

Raising a Happy Child said...

My Mom the Pirate sounds fascinating. Thanks for joining WMCIR!

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