Friday, March 22, 2013

"Zeke Meeks vs The Putrid Puppet Pals" by DL Green, Illustrated by Josh Alves


Publishers Weekly
In one of four heavily illustrated novels launching the Zeke Meeks chapter book series, Green and Alves address fads, consumerism, and schoolyard tribulations with ample amounts of irreverent and self-referential humor. Third-grader Zeke likes to spend recess shooting hoops, but his friends have forsaken basketball (and all other physical activity) for Puppet Pals, a much-hyped brand of finger puppets that are inspiring Beanie Baby–like levels of devotion. Since no one will play with him, Zeke eventually caves in and buys a box of Puppet Pals, which only results in additional clashes with popular kids and bullies alike. Levelheaded Zeke is an entertaining and likable narrator (“I love happy endings.... Then I glanced at this book. I realized this isn’t the ending. There are a lot more pages left”), though other characters are less fully developed; the classmates’ banter gives the book a Saturday morning cartoon sensibility, underscored by Alves’s Nickelodeon-ready spot art. Amid all the one-liners, Green encourages readers not to just follow the herd—especially when expensive “bits of colored felt” are involved. Ages 7–10. (Feb.)


Published by: Capstone
Pages: 128
Ages appropriate:  7-10
Series:  Zeke Meeks
Genre:  Children's Fiction


Silly, slimey, scratchy and goofy as this story may be, it's as good as it gets for elementary school kids; especially boys.  Both boys and girls; however, will love all the horrible things that can happen with little sisters and their "potty" language, drooling old dogs, and semi-scary school friends.  The illustrations in this small "chapter" book make it as fun and funny as it can be. It will delight early readers.

Everything comes together over the newest kid toy trend--the love of Puppet Pals finger puppets.  Zeke Meeks  happens to be a boy's-boy who loves sports, especially basketball, and  he's truly not interested in what he considers boring old finger puppets.  All the noise and focus on them amongst his best buds, though, causes him some issues.

Zeke learns a lesson or two along the way as he tries to reconcile his feelings about the "Putrid Puppet Pals;" lessons about talking it out with friends, sharing, spending his allowance wisely, handling a school bully and understanding different choices.

Kids will love how he braves a chore to sweep his scary, spider-filled basement so his mom will pay for those dreaded puppets, even though he doesn't really want them.  His need to become one of the crowd makes him feel sad in the end, and changes everything when his friends wake up to the real situation of "Zeke Meeks vs The Putrid Puppet Pals."

4 stinker wasp puppet buzzes

Grammie Bee

Fancy Nancy Grows Up! "Nancy Clancy Super Sleuth"


Nancy Clancy is on the case!
Nancy Clancy has everything she needs to be a super sleuth (that's a fancy word for detective): She has a glamorous magnifying glass complete with rhinestones, a totally professional pink trench coat, and a sleuthing partner with awesome code-breaking skills—her best friend, Bree. But when crime strikes right in the middle of her classroom, will Nancy have what it takes to crack the case?


Published by:  Harper Collins
Pages:  144
Series:  Fancy Nancy Series
Genre:  Children's Fiction
Age Group:  6-10 years


Jane O'Connor is the author of more than thirty books for children, including the Nina, Nina Ballerina stories, illustrated by DyAnne DiSalvo, and the Fancy Nancy picture book series. Ms. O'Connor lives with her family in ever-posh New York City.
How wonderful that Fancy Nancy is growing up along with her little fans!  I read this book to my special grandgirl, Hadley, over a tape recorder and sent it and the book to her to get her reaction.  She loved it!
Proof that she was ready to move ahead with Fancy Nancy as they both are getting older and not just playing dress-up anymore. 
Quite the awesome sleuth, Nancy Clancy.  I think this is the perfect entre' into a whole new world for the up-and-coming readers and soon-to-be pre-teen set.  Jane O'Connor isn't just fancy, she's imaginative and savvy, too.
In keeping with her well-known humor, Ms O'Connor has brought Nancy along but given her a new intelligence and importance.  I think parents and children, both, will love this new series.
Highly recommended!
5 stars