Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Books I Missed the First Time Around

Man, am I ever behind in my blogging duties. I was going to put together my Best of 2006 list, but I haven't talked about half the books on the list yet. Ah well.

None of these will be on the list, but it's what I feel like talking about right now.

Anyway... so this summer I finally read Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry and The Agony of Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Both are the first books in extremely popular series that I never read when I was the target audience, but wish I had. Interestingly enough, I liked Alice a lot more than Anastasia, but when I was a kid, it would have been the other way around.

Quick summaries:

Anastasia hates her name, her fourth grade teacher, liver, and pumpkin pie. She loves making lists, writing poetry, her wart, and her goldfish. When her parents announce she's going to have a little brother, she adds her parents and babies to the list of things she hates. Over the school year, both lists change as items are added and deleted in this funny and moving book.

Alice is about to start sixth grade at a new school in Silver Spring. ALl she really wants is to be on safety patrol, but they were all chosen the year before. Instead of being placed in Miss Cole's class (who will sometimes drive you home in her sports car) or Mr. Weber's class (who takes everyone on a camping trip in the spring), she has Mrs. Plotkin, who is boring and old. If she only had a mother, Alice would have help navigating her transition into being a teenager, but, left on her own, is she really just going backwards and not growing up at all?

I also read Starting with Alice, which is the first of 3 prequels to the Alice series.

Both Alice and Anastasia are accurate and touching portrayals of the 10-13 years, which are not fun. I think I liked Alice better now because Naylor picks up on a lot of the mishaps that I can now look back on and laugh about. Lowry picks up on those feelings that still hurt.

Also, remember that show on PBS that you got to watch in reading class where this woman would read a story or a chapter while the guy drew illustrations? Once, she read this story about a girl whose brother takes her jeans shopping and she walks in on a guy in blue underwear in the dressing rooms. I always wanted to know what the story is and wanted to read it. I remembered it the first time I ever fell into the Gap. I was very excited when I was reading The Agony of Alice and THERE IT WAS! And then I was very annoyed because she was buying Levis. At the Gap. The Gap only sells Gap brand!

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