Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Melonhead and the Vegalicious Disaster by Katy Kelly, illustrated by Gillian Johnson

This is the third Melonhead story, following Melonhead and Melonhead and the Big Stink. Melonhead (Adam) is getting ready for the fifth grade and there are a lot changes in the air. Lucy Rose and Jonique, Sam and Melonhead are still best friends, but Melonhead's mom has decided it's time for them all to eat a healthier diet and more vegetables. She's also decided that Lucy Rose is a bad influence on Melonhead and he should spend less time with her. The new friend she's chosen for him is Pip, a new girl at school. Pip has her own problems, especially with the tough new teacher who babies her because she's in a wheelchair. Then things get even worse when Melonhead accidentally hurts Lucy Rose's feelings and his "solution" for his mom's vegetable creations makes a big stink - literally.

I love Melonhead so much, but I can't help but think that this one missed the boat. Now, I may be jaded because it was only a few weeks ago that we had to call the police in to deal with some kids fighting, (the ones trying to strangle each other - literally - were 11 and 12, but half the kids watching (and taking pics on their cellphones) were 5th grade or younger), but Melonhead and the whole plot feels very young for fifth grade. I was also disappointed that a lot of Melonhead's personality and character; his love of inventions, his curiosity and interest in the world, is gone. This story is mostly about Melonhead trying to navigate more complicated friendships and family relationships, which would make for a more mature story, except the humor and main plot point, the vegetables, is so juvenile. On the other hand, kids that age do swing back and forth between behavior that would be infantile for a kindergartener and maturity that would make a 40 year old look naive.

Verdict: Well, in the final verdict I'm not totally happy with the book, but I'm not sorry I bought it. I think a lot of 3rd and 4th graders will still enjoy the story, but I don't see Melonhead moving on to an older audience and I would have preferred more stories specifically for the same younger age group that the previous titles aimed at.

ISBN: 9780385741644; Published 2012 by Delacorte/Random House; Review copy provided by publisher; Purchased for the library

No comments: