Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Book Look "Flipped"

Writers of Young Adult fiction often produce books that even Old Adults can enjoy. Like me. Wendelin Van Draanen is the author of “Flipped” which I enjoyed reading aloud to Mr. Gibson’s sixth grade class at Art City Elementary. I have included a couple of their comments, which I think will persuade you to read this book much more effectively than I could. They are a discerning audience with strong opinions about the books they like and don’t like.

Payton wrote: “Flipped is a very good book and it has a very good meaning. The Loskis are a normal family that just moved in and they move in right across the street from the Bakes and they are a little bit different. But in the end they work out their differences.” She understands one of the great messages of the novel. Once you get to know your neighbors things can get worked out.

In the story Bryce Loski moves into Julianna Baker’s neighborhood during the second grade. The entertaining and realistic dialogue switches between chapters to give young readers the view from both main characters. Juli speaks in phrases like: “The first day I met Bryce Loski, I flipped. Honestly, one look at him and I became a lunatic.” Bryce of course doesn’t feel the same way about her. He thinks she is a pest and as the years go by he even calls her weird. The book continues until eighth grade when some things change.

Hannah understands why Bryce would feel this way. She writes: “Juli Baker is stubborn and a show off. She won’t leave Bryce alone.” That is good character description. Short, clear and explains motivation. I think she may be onto something when it comes to attracting young men - heads up mom and dad.

Not everyone in the class enjoyed the first couple of chapters. Dylan didn’t like the book but did appreciate the writing. (I told you they were discerning). “I didn’t really like how the book started. It’s not like a lot of kids would run into a nice new neighbor’s house all
muddy. It’s not a book I would usually read and it doesn’t catch my attention. The book uses ok comparisons like when the author compared fighting against his sister like a fish taking bait.” Dylan may be more into fishing, than reading a relationship book at this stage of his life. I think his parents may be encouraging this attitude.

Brandon crossed out some of his initial thoughts, as every writer must be able to edit. He was able to condense his comments well. “I like the book because it uses good words and it is believable.” Burke is our last selected critic and he recommends reading “Flipped” in one sentence. “It was extremely descriptive and a total page turner.” Burke must read book reviews in his spare time because he has the language down pat. There you have it, in the words of sixth graders, most of them flipped for “Flipped”.

1 comment:

The Cakes said...

Savvy sixth graders! Burke is going far in life, I can tell.