Sunday, November 29, 2015

Pack of Dorks / Beth Brabel / 216 pages

"If you want to be popular - and my best friend - you sometimes have to do things you don't want to do."  So Lucy agrees to kiss Tom Lemming behind the shed at recess.  The entire fourth grade (Ms. Drake's) is waiting to see The Kiss....or kisses, because Becky will simultaneously kiss Henry.  Lucy misses school the next day for the birth of her baby sister, Molly, but Molly has Down's Syndrome and Lucy's world undergoes devastating changes.  "Maybe [she] would cry forever, until she died, until a river of tears carried her far, far away from this place where diamond rings turn your finger green, where boys you kiss hate you three days later, where best friends laugh when you cry, where parents stop liking you, where babies are born different."  This heart-warming story deals with a multitude of complex issues:  bullying, individual differences, Down's Syndrome, new babies, non-traditional grandmothers, wolf rescue, etc., in an entertaining, informative, and inspirational way.  Although a few editorial mistakes (page 141 and 204) interrupted the flow of the narrative, these anomalies actually reinforced the theme...that we are all flawed in some way.  At first the cover art was off-putting, but after reading, appears to be perfect.

"Everyone in this world gets picked on at some point, some people more than others, some people less.  A few protect themselves by being bullies.  Some are able to ignore the bullies and embrace who they are.  Those folks are rare.  Everyone else struggles."

"Everyone should have a flaw.  Keeps them humble."

"People are cool or they aren't.  You can't make it happen."

Mark Twain Award Preliminary Nominee 2016-17

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