Rave Reviews Log: Realistic Fiction

May 22, 2007

The Curtain Went Up, My Pants Fell Down

By Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver
Rating: 3 3/4 stars
Reviewed by Noelle

This is book 11 in the Hank Zipzer series. Hank has been assigned a peer tutor in math--the perfect A student, Heather Payne. Although Hank is embarrassed by having to work with her, he ends up explaining to her his difficulties in math, and Heather is actually able to help him. But as usual, Hank is charging around, doing first and thinking second. In this case, Hank is inspired to try out for the part of the King of Siam in a school production of The King and I. Although he can't read the script, his improvisionational skills win the heart of the director. But Hank has trouble brewing, as always. Since Hank's last math test scored the grade of a D, Hank's father tells him he can only play the part of the king if he gets a B+ on his next math test. Will Heather's tutoring be enough to help him get the best grade he's ever gotten in math? And if he can be in the show, can a show starring Hank go smoothly? Fans will enjoy the quickly paced and funny story. A story with Hank may include some bumps, but fans can always count on a positive outcome.

May 17, 2007

Johnny and the Dead

By Terry Pratchett
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Noelle

It isn't a mystery or suspense or even realistic, but it is rather funny. This is the second book in the Johnny Maxwell series. Johnny is cutting through the cemetary again when he decides to knock on one of the mauseleum doors. To his surprise, the door opens and he meets the dead spirit who inhabits that grave. Johnny finds he can see and speak to the dead! He soon meets all the graveyard inhabitants, who are quite upset when they learn the cemetary has been sold to make room for an office building. Johnny finds himself an unwilling hero when the dead expect him to try and save their cemetary from the bulldozers. With the help of his friends Bigmac, Yo-Less and Wobbler (who aren't quite certain they believe him), Johnny finds ways to mount an offense while the dead find that you can still have some life left in you even when you are done living. It isn't a bit spooky, but it is quite a fun tale. Readers will enjoy Johnny's journey and realizations and laugh at the dead's antics. Thumbs up for a light and entertaining read.