Thursday, October 8, 2015
Smiles to Go gets 4 Stars
Jerry Spinelli's book Stargirl was one of my first children literature books that I absolutely feel in love with. It was also my go to class read aloud book for the beginning of the year. The boys and the girls in the class all ended up loving it even though the boys were not excited about reading a book with girl in the title. It's a great book on being yourself and treating others with kindness; seriously so so good.
Ever since that day I read and fell in love with Stargirl I have anxiously read every Spinelli book I've come across. I own A LOT of them.
Smiles to Go by Jerry Spinelli earned 4 out of 5 stars in my book review of this realistic children's/juvenile literature novel. I really liked Smiles to Go. I felt the writing was good and the typical classic quality Spinelli storytelling with excellent character development. He's an excellent author.
This realistic fiction chapter book would be perfect for 4th-8th grade boys or girls alike. However, I think avid readers independently or a class read aloud or literature circle would benefit and enjoy this more than a reluctant reader. There is some science in this chapter book, and there are a lot of inferring needed to really capture the depth of this novel.
I think a lot of kids could relate to Will, the main character/narrator. He has a little sister who likes to bug him, school teachers always asking questions and giving assignments, friends to have fun with, parents who love him, and even a girl he likes but doesn't know how to behave or act around her.
Will has a little sister who he loves and she loves him, but just like a typical kid his age he doesn't recognize that love until she's hurt. Will at the beginning of the novel just thinks his sister likes to drive him bonkers and annoy him, but by the end of the novel he learns that that her actions were ways to express her love for him. Many readers may be able to see Will's relationship with his sister and make connections with his or her own sibling and family relationships.
All in all, I really liked Smiles to Go and think it is a great story. I think the writing, story, and characters are great. The main reasons the story lost a star in my book review is b/c there were a few slow parts and the story didn't wow me.
This may not be a book I'd recommend to a reluctant reader, but I would fully recommend Smiles to Go as a class read aloud, literature circle discussion book, or independent read for an avid reader especially with those that love science.
Amazon had the following book review from School Library Journal:
"Will Tuppence is a sensible kid, good at science, with an average social life and a loud-mouthed little sister, Tabby, whom he does his very best to avoid. But when he learns that scientists have recorded the first instance of proton decay, his logical mind goes into free fall contemplating the implications. When, soon after, he catches his friends Mi-Su and BT kissing, his confusion skyrockets. Does he like Mi-Su himself? Would Mi-Su kiss him? Does it even matter now that all protons in the universe are impermanent? But the point of the story is not proton decay; nor is it the uncertainty that the phenomenon represents—as manifested in Will's life via the love triangle. The story ultimately hinges on Tabby, and Will's relationship with her. Events transpire to remind him of its centrality, around which his daily life and his very identity orbit. With narrative that is fast moving and often laugh-out-loud funny, this book would make an excellent addition to any collection. Short sentences and brief chapters make it a good pick for even reluctant readers. Spinelli lives up to his well-established precedent of stories full of warmth, humor, and memorable characters. Tabby, though at times slightly unbelievable in her precociousness, is a comical and endearing creation. Will's teenage insecurities, overanalyzing, and mood swings are entirely believable, and readers empathize fully with him while willing him to step outside himself and look around at what he has."
Happy Realistic Fiction with a Fun Science Aspect in Juvenile/Kid/Children's Literature or chapter book reading!
What are you reading?
One random note, in the book Smiles to Go, the character name the night before Halloween, October 30th, to be Mischief Night where pranks are pulled. I'd never heard that before; am I in the dark or is that fictional just like the book?
That day, October 30th, is the birthday of my youngest daughter who is plenty feisty and fun: i can see her really loving knowing that in a few years if she's anything like her feisty prank loving mom.
Kinda fun and random, right?! :)