Tag Archives: pranks

The Last Boy…..

15 Jun

Being the only person of your color, language or religion at your school isn’t that uncommon. Lots of kids live this daily. It can be lonely and isolated, but they make friends and adapt.

Jeremy Miner, the protagonist of Lee Gjertsen Malone’s  The Last Boy at St. Edith’s is isolated because he is the only boy at his school.

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Publisher’s Summary:Seventh grader Jeremy Miner has a girl problem. Or, more accurately, a girls problem. 475 of them to be exact. That’s how many girls attend his school, St. Edith’s Academy.

Jeremy is the only boy left after the school’s brief experiment in co-education. And he needs to get out. But his mother—a teacher at the school—won’t let him transfer, so Jeremy takes matters into his own hands: he’s going to get expelled.

Together with his best friend Claudia, Jeremy unleashes a series of hilarious pranks in hopes that he’ll get kicked out with minimal damage to his permanent record. But when his stunts start to backfire, Jeremy has to decide how far he’s willing to go and whom he’s willing to knock down to get out the door.

When I was a librarian I would occasionally be asked for books about pranks. There aren’t as many as you might think. And though the book seems a little far-fetched, it really works. The characters are believable and Jeremy’s family life and friendship give some insight into economic disparities and gender roles. Yeah, these are all white kids, but it is still a good read about individuality, conformity, and friendship

April Fool’s Day, 1977

5 Apr

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Growing up, the rule was that all April Fool’s pranks had to be played before noon. I don’t know who made that rule. My mom? Some teachers? I just thought everybody knew that.

April 1, 2016 saw me in a different school than I’d been in the year before. I’d enforced the April Fool’s Rule there, but I hadn’t said anything to my 6th graders about behavioral expectations for  any pranks they might be thinking about playing.

Apparently there was no need to worry. The only thing someone did was change the date I;d written on the board from Friday, April 1, 2016 to Friday, April 2, 2016. Sheesh, these guys were lame!

It brought me back to grade 7. My teacher that year was my least favorite then, and now. Mrs. Moore just seemed to have no rapport with us, I wonder now, if she chose to teach at our school or if she’d been moved there. She wasn’t a bad teacher,  even though we called her  “Massah Moore” after the evil plantation owner in Roots which had aired earlier that year. Mostly, she just seemed distant.  So, when Craig Pestell convinced our class to play an April Fool’s prank as a whole class,we thought we’d be OK.

We started every morning with opening exercises that involved singing O Canada,  among other things. Mrs. Moore would blow the note on her pitch-pipe and we’d start singing. Craig talked the class into singing a new song. When the note was blown, we’d all begin with the initial  “O” of O Canada, then transition the “O” smoothly into “Old” and sing Old Macdonald had a farm, instead.

I remember being excited as we  stood for opening exercises and it all came off without a hitch. Except we hadn’t anticipated Mrs Moore’s reaction. She was livid. She yelled at us like I’ve never seen anyone get angry at a whole class. She called us disrespectful and rude. Our innocent fun had flopped terribly.

Then, as now, I think her reaction was unwarranted. If she had chuckled, rolled her eyes and said “Very funny. Now, let’s do it the right way!”, I probably wouldn’t remember this April Fool’s Day almost 40 years later.  But she didn’t. She made us feel small. I’d like to think that if my students were to play this prank on me I’d be a better sport than Mrs Moore, who drove the wedge between herself and her students a little deeper that day.

April fools!

1 Apr

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A few years ago, when I was still the librarian at my school, a student asked me for a book about pranks. I think s/he wanted a how-to book, but there was really no book I could suggest, fiction or non-fiction.

And now we have The Terrible Two  by Mac Barnett and Jory John. This is a fast-paced novel full of mischief  and justice.

Miles Murphy was the prankster at his school. When his family moves to the boring town of Yawnee valley, he is disconcerted to learn that the school already has a prankster, named Niles. In an “epic war of trickery” Miles and Niles prank it out until they decide to pull off the prank to end all pranks together.

This os perfect for fans of Jeff Kinney’s  Wimpy Kid  series of James Patterson’s I Funny  books. I can think of a few kids in my class who will love this.

Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

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