INFO: Howe, James. Howliday Inn. Q/R. 1982.
DESC: In Howe’s solo return (R.I.P., Deborah!) to the characters and plotlines that haunted the perennially-beloved Bunnicula, we again see Howard, humble narrator, pitching a finished manuscript to his bemused human editor. This time, Howard shares the tale of the time the Monroe family left on vacation, and made the fateful decision to board our favorite cat and dog at the deceptively fancy-sounding Chateau Bow-Wow. Harold and Chester quickly realize that their kennel is far from ordinary! The real gem in Howliday Inn, as with Bunnicula, is Harold and Chester’s complicated relationship, and Howe’s genius portrayal of their very different – and very compelling – personalities. Also noteworthy is the amount of awesome vocabulary that Howe’s Bunnicula books deliver – you might want to have your kiddos have their notebooks ready, because they’ll be in for a treat (and, thanks to erudite Chester and Harold, a whole new lease on the English language!)
TAGS: animals, mysteries, detective stories, animal mysteries, spooky stories, scary, haunted houses, bunnicula, really smart household pets, problem-solving, clues, classics, Q/R, fiction, chapter, popular
INFO: McKenna, Colleen O’Shaughnessy. Good Grief Third Grade. O. 1993.
DESC: Another one in the perpetual 90’s craze for “3rd grade dramas,” McKenna sets her Good Grief Third Grade in a New Jersey Catholic school. Here, we meet our hero, Marsha Cessano, who starts us off by swearing that 3rd grade is going to be a good year. She’s written out her goals and made agreements with her parents and everything. That’s a high bar to set, after all, because poor, spirited Marsha has herself an enemy – the equally spirited Roger Friday, who’s dead-set on making her life a misery. When the hateful dynamic rears its ugly head in the first weeks of school, Marsha changes her plan, and starts scheming up ways to get rid of Roger. THEN, enter beautiful Ms. Murtland – student teacher extraordinaire, Southern belle, and Marsha’s crush for most of the novel. Ms. Murtland, with some help from the alphabet, has broken the class into “buddy” pairs to help her complete her year-long research project – and Marsha, poor Marsha, is stuck with … you guessed it. The Friday kid. Will Marsha and Roger learn to make-love-not-war? Will Marsha be able to “turn it around”? Was 3rd grade really this crazy, for everybody!? What reads as a bit dramatic to the adult eye probably reeks of verisimilitude for our young charges. This book seems to be a popular hit – even as the antics between Marsha and Roger escalate, and become somewhat predictable in their annoyance – and is highly recommended for our Americorps kids!
TAGS: 3rd grade dramas, catholic school, feuds, boy-girl wars, 3rd grade wars, misbehavior, impressing teachers, O, chapter, fiction, popular