Saturday, October 15, 2011

Kid Konnection: Tales of a Sixth-Grade Muppet and How to Rock Braces and Glasses

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you two cute middle grade books which brought back some fun memories for me.

Summary: On a scale of one to ten, sixth-grader Danvers Blickensderfer's life is a solid minus two. His parents saddled him with a name like Danvers, and then they forced him to share a bunk bed with his little sister, Chloe (aka Evil Incarnate)!

But Danver really hits rock bottom when he auditions for the local talent show: His death-defying hula-hooping-ninja tribute to The Great Gonzo is beat out by the world's most obnoxious middle school boy band, Emo Shun. 

With his daredevil dreams dashed, Danvers goes to bed wishing he could be just like his idol Gonzo. The next morning, Danvers wakes up feeling a little fuzzy... literally! He turned into a Muppet! 

Fortunately, there's an internship open at the Muppet Theater! All aboard The Electric Mayhem bus as this misfit makes good and joins the zaniest crew ever: the Muppets! -- Little, Brown

Let me preface this review by saying that I LOVE THE MUPPETS! I am extremely excited about the new Muppet movie, and I have copies of many of the old Muppet movies too. I remember watching the television series with my dad when I was a kid, and I still laugh like a nut at these characters. I've done my darnedest to get my kids to love them too. Every time we are at Disney World, I make them sit through the 3D Muppet Vision attraction. I don't know that they share my enthusiasm, but they are pretty nice about it!

So when I learned about the new graphic novel called TALES OF A SIXTH-GRADE MUPPET by Kirk Scroggs , there was no doubt that I had to check it out! TALES OF A SIXTH-GRADE MUPPET tells the story of Danvers (poor kid) who, like me, has a love of all things Muppet. When he channels his inner Gonzo for the talent show... and flops, he goes to bed feeling a little depressed. But when he wakes up, he discovers his life has drastically changed since he now looks just like a furry little Muppet.

I have to say that I got a kick out of this book. And I think the timing is perfect since the new Muppet movie is coming out soon. The author/illustrator captured the feel of the Muppets perfectly, and I love how many old references to the Muppet characters that he put into the story. I felt as if I were walking down memory lane! There are plenty of opportunities for laughs and I couldn't help but love Danvers and his new persona. Plus there were appearances from all the old gang -- Gonzo, Animal, Miss Piggy, Kermit, Fozzie, and many more!

Since the book is in a graphic novel format, I do think that kids will like reading it.. even reluctant readers. It's a quick read with lots of funny illustrations, but there is also a fair amount of straight text. I especially loved the drawings and seeing all of the Muppet characters together again.

I'm not sure that my seventh grade daughter would appreciate TALES OF A SIXTH-GRADE MUPPET quite as much as I did, since she obviously won't appreciate all of the Muppet jokes. In addition, the book does seem like it's a little young for middle grade kids -- it's more for older elementary age in my opinion. Another thought I had while reading this book is how the Muppet humor will play with today's kids -- they seem to be much more worldly than I was! I've decided that I'm going to share this fun book with both kids after giving them another immersion into the Muppets after a marathon movie night. I have a feeling that Booking Son, who is seven, might enjoy it a great deal.

If you are a fan of the Muppets or just want to introduce them to a new generation, then I suggest getting your hands on a copy of TALES OF A SIXTH-GRADE MUPPET.

Summary: Gorgeous, uber-harsh, and uber-stylish, Kacey Simon is the undisputed social dictator of Marquette Middle School. That is, until an eye infection and a visit to the dentist leave her with coke-bottle glasses, a mouth full of metal, and... a littttthsp! Dissed and dismissed by her popular friends, Kacey is forced to hang out with a boy who wears skinny jeans and jams in his own band. But as she adjusts to life as a loser, she's surprised to find that Skinny Jeans is kind of hot and his band is pretty cool. Suddenly, hitting rock-bottom feels oddly uplifting. Could rocking braces and glasses be the best thing to ever happen to her?

In this hilarious reversal of the cool crowd versus the nerd herd, a popular girl finds herself in Loserville and realizes it's about time she paid back all the bad karma she built up as Queen Bee. -- Poppy

When I read the description for HOW TO ROCK BRACES AND GLASSES by Meg Haston, I so wanted to read it. I thought it sounded like an ideal book for middle school girls. I can still remember how geeky I felt in middle school with my braces (fortunately, I didn't have glasses too!) Plus, Booking Daughter sports glasses (hers are adorable though) and she will be getting braces in a few months. I thought she might enjoy this book and relate to it as well.

I thought HOW TO ROCK BRACES AND GLASSES was very cute, and I do think tween girls will appreciate it. I don't know if I'd say I absolutely loved this book, but I did think it was fun. What I did like about this novel is that it delves into some very real subjects for today's middle school girls. For example, it features mean girls, some forms of bullying, and insecure feelings. And while presenting these "problems" it does so in a humorous light. I would think that HOW TO ROCK BRACES AND GLASSES will help tweens keep perspective on all of the changes going on in their lives. Goodness knows, those middle school years are full of challenging times!

In addition, I liked some of the messages in this novel. As a mom, I'm always looking for stories that will appeal to my daughter, and at the same time, have some important life lessons hidden in the pages. In the case of HOW TO ROCK BRACES AND GLASSES, I appreciated that the main character Kacey evolved throughout the story. Because I have to tell you, she was awful for a large part of the book. She was a typical mean girl who was extremely self-centered and liked to criticize all of her friends. It was only when she was brought down to size because of her glasses, braces and lisp that she realized her faults and made amends for her prior actions.

I found that after I finished HOW TO ROCK BRACES AND GLASSES, I wasn't ready to hand it over to Booking Daughter. It's not because I didn't like the book, but I was worried about how my sensitive daughter  would perceive the story. While I thought parts of this novel were really cute and funny, I was worried that she might panic about the character's reaction to wearing braces and glasses. I was also concerned that she would think that other kids were laughing at her. So, needless to say, this book is going away for a few months until she's ready to laugh at the situations that Kacey faces.

HOW TO ROCK BRACES AND GLASSES is an entertaining read (although a bit predictable), and I do think tween girls will enjoy the story -- especially the parts where Kacey gets her comeuppance.

Thanks to the publisher for sending copies of this book.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


Beth F said...

First, sorry about linking up the wrong post; delete the link when you get a chance.

Second, I love the Muppets! I'll have to look for this one and for the movie. You're smart about waiting to give the braces book to your daughter. Why worry her about something she may not have even been thinking about.

bermudaonion said...

I can remember dragging Carl to see a Muppets movie in the theater. We used to watch the Muppets on TV too. That book sounds adorable!

Laura Fabiani said...

I wore glasses and braces in high school! And my daughter has just gotten her partial braces two weeks ago. I can totally understand about not wanting to hand over the book to your daughter right now. Braces are such an adjustment!

carolsnotebook said...

I love the Muppets!!! I have to pick this one up. Might daughter might like it too. She's watched all the movies and we have three seasons of The Muppet Show on DVD. Can't wait for the new movie!