Tag Archives: stereotypes

Fish in a Tree…meh

17 Jul

Albert Einstein is purported to have said “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” There is no actual evidence that he said it.

This quote, regardless of its origin, is the source of the title of Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s newest book.

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Although this book seems to have been given a lot of praise, I found it to be a rather mediocre “issue book”.

Ally has moved around a lot and attended a lot of schools. She has mostly learned how to hide her learning disability. When her teacher goes on maternity leave the substitute is the one teacher who can see her potential. Aside from the lifesaving teacher trope, we also encounter the brainiac, the mean snobby girl, and the encouraging friend. I also felt that, although Ally is supposed to be in 6th grade, the characters seemed younger.

So, I clearly didn’t love this book.  A lot of other people do. I leave it ti you to make up your own mind.

Pigeonholing an author

4 Sep

I am sometimes surprised, and often excited when an author I thought of as one thing, writes outside my idea of them. In my mind, Lauren Myracle is a YA author, mostly because the first book of hers that I read, Shine, was targeted at that age group. She is often edgy and frequently controversial. According to the American Library Association, Myracle’s books were the most challenged books of 2009 and 2011. Her books continue to be challenged in school libraries, usually for scenes of alleged sexuality, homosexuality, or alcohol use.

Just to keep us on our toes, she has now entered the world of easy chapter books.  The Life of Ty:Penguin Problems returns to characters from The Winnie Years Series, focusing on Winnie’s younger brother, Ty.

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Ty is s sensitive seven-year old. he has two older sisters and one baby sister. He’s stuck in the middle and feeling a little forlorn. Although the plot is more or less what you’d expect of a chapter book for this age group, what I like is how Myracle turns stereotypes upside down.

Ty is s sensitive male character. The rowdy and naughtiest lid in class is a girl. Nothing really earth-shaking, but planting seeds for kids to see the world beyond how it is so often portrayed. This book will be a less controversial than other Myracle has written and I think a lot of young readers will really enjoy this new series.

Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

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