Thursday, November 19, 2009
Never race a runaway pumpkin by Katherine Applegate, illustrated by Brian Biggs
The seventh Roscoe Riley story includes math, superstitions, candy, cats, pumpkins, and more!
Roscoe is very busy these days. There's a big contest at the town bookstore - whoever guesses the weight of the giant pumpkin will win a giant pumpkinful of books for the school library and a pumpkinful of candy for themselves! Ms. Diz, their teacher, is excited about this wonderful "learning opportunity" to learn about estimation - and pumpkins!
But Roscoe's got even more things on his mind - he's watching out for superstitions. No matter what his teacher, parents, and others tell him, he's sure that disaster is lurking around every corner. This being Roscoe Riley, it is! Just not quite the disaster he'd pictured.
I bought the first two books in the series for my library mainly because of the cute covers - I don't recall seeing any reviews. I stuck them on the series shelf and forgot about them....until a cute little boy solemnly trooped up to my desk and informed me that these were "really funny, do you have any more stories about Roscoe Riley?" I promptly bought the rest of the series and have been watching them fly off the shelf ever since, though it's taken until now for me to read one myself!
There's a lot of the classic beginning reader school story in Roscoe, the kid who gets in little troubles at school, supportive family and teachers, and a lesson learned. But Katherine Applegate ups the ante with silly jokes, a hilarious and off-the-wall conclusion, and a seamless blending of fact and fiction that both beginning and reluctant readers will enjoy. Brian Biggs' illustrations have an animated/cartoonish quality that perfectly fits the slightly zany story.
Verdict: Hand this to reluctant readers, kids who like school stories, kids who like nonfiction, and anyone who wants a good laugh!
ISBN: 978-0061783708; Published August 2009 by HarperCollins; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library