Thursday, August 12, 2010

Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time

Stanford Wong Flunks Big-timeStanford Wong Flunks Big-time Lisa Yee

When I was in grade school, it was a lot easier to figure out if a girl like liked you. All you had to do was hit her. I don't mean slug her, but just sort of hit lightly and laugh lightheartedly while you were doing it. If the girl hit you back and smiles, she like liked you. But if she screamed and then slugged you really hard or worse, kicked you, it meant that only did she not like like you, she hated you, which automatically meant that all her friends did too. page 94

We all know how Millicent felt about tutoring Stanford over the summer, but here's Stanford's side of things.

All Stanford likes is to play ball. He's keenly aware that he's not a genius like his sister or father. He thinks his life is over when he fails English and can't go to basketball camp, even worse, if he doesn't pass it in summer school, he won't be able to play ball next school year. And he's just been named to the A-Team. 7th graders NEVER make the A-Team. All he has to do is keep his friends from finding out that he's a failure and pass English.

Of course, his friends keep fighting so even basketball isn't entirely fun at the moment, his parents keep fighting, they stuck his grandmother in a nursing home where she's miserable, and Stanford has to spend his summer with Millicent Min, who has set the bar for Chinese students way too high.

Even though this is a story I've read from Millicent's point of view before, this is still completely new. Yee's humor is in full force, and Stanford tries to juggle way too much for one summer. I also love how he's a secret knitter for stress relief. His relationship with his father was probably the most heart-breaking subplot. I also love his interactions with his friends. They're boys and gross (like the time they decided to see if farts smell better to the person who farted them than to other people) but there were also a lot of interpersonal dynamics under the surface. I also loved the truth about why Millicent changed schools and why she and Digger hate each other so much.

A great read on its own, but even better if you're already a fan of Millicent Min.

Book Provided by... my local library

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C.B. James said...

When I was in grade school there were two books A Dog on Barkham Street and A Bully on Barkham Street. I read Dog first. It's about a boy who's trying to convince his parents he should have a dog. He has trouble with the bully next door who had a dog once, only to have it taken away because he didn't take care of it.

I loved the book and went straight to the library to get what I thought was the sequel. Turned out Bully on Barkham Street was the exact same story told from the view point of the bully next door.

It blew me away. What I thought was true wasn't. The bully wasn't a bad guy at all. His parents were evil for taking away his dog. I remember throwing the book across the room in rage when they did. And I was not the same reader afterwards. Every story has at least two sides.

These two books sound like they'd be great for my sixth graders.

Jennie said...

C.B.-- This particular story actually as three sides. Rounding out the saga is So Totally Emily Ebers

Lisa Yee said...

Thanks so much for the great review.

Also, I hadn't heard of the Barkham Street books, but I'll be sure to look them up!