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Bera the One-Headed Troll by Eric Orchard
Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly
Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon
Borrowed Crime by Laurie Cass
Dark Days by James Ponti
Death at Victoria Dock by Kerry Greenwood
The Detective's Assistant by Kate Hannigan
Doctor Who: The Roots of Evil by Philip Reeve
The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Crazy Critter Race by Maxwell Eaton III
For Today I Am a Boy by Kim Fu
Fred and Ted's Road Trip by Peter Eastman
Free Fall by David Wiesner
The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley
Ghostbusters: Get Real by Erik Burnham
Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia
Hip Hop Family Tree, Vol. 3: 1983-1984 by Ed Piskor
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
Lowriders to the Center of the Earth by Cathy Camper
The Master of Jalna by Mazo de la Roche
Murder on the Ballarat Train by Kerry Greenwood
Nothing Up My Sleeve by Diana López
Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses by Kimberly and James Dean
The Pharos Gate by Nick Bantock
Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding
The River by Alessandro Sanna
Six Kids and a Stuffed Cat by Gary Paulsen
The Sleepover by Jen Malone
Threadbare by Monica Ferris
To Catch a Cheat by Varian Johnson
Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters

Miscellaneous
Diversity report for September 2016

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Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Six Kids and a Stuffed Cat: 09/11/16

Six Kids and a Stuffed Cat by Gary Paulsen

Six Kids and a Stuffed Cat by Gary Paulsen is a short, strange, and memorable children's book. There are two versions of it. One is a straight up chapter book of about fifty pages. The second is the same tale but written out as a play, perfect for a school performance.

As a piece of prose, Six Kids and a Stuffed Cat wouldn't be very memorable. The title says it all — almost all. It's a situation comedy, a coming together of six boys in a bathroom during a storm watch. The different chapters (or scenes) are separated by loud speaker announcements on the rain in the next county over.

The protagonist of the story lets us know at the first announcement that the weather never amounts to anything but they are always told to seek shelter. At the start of this book, the announcement came just minutes before the final bell of the day, meaning that most children have gone home but those whose teachers were sticklers for following the bell and those that were otherwise delayed, are now stuck until the all clear.

But then there's the play, which as the author says, any six kids can perform, is a different beast all together. The play is written to last about seventeen minutes — perfect for a school play, especially if multiple classes are putting on performances in the same event.

As the play requires exactly one set (a multi-stall bathroom) and some way of broadcasting the announcements (which could be done with the school's actual PA system to add authenticity), the emphasis moves to the interactions of the six kids and the one big prop (the stuffed cat).

A single set play puts me happily in the mindset of a classic of wacky characters and situations, namely Arsenic and Old Lace which as a play takes place entirely in the sitting room of the boarding house. Of course, this play doesn't have any bodies in the basement or someone convinced he's Teddy Roosevelt, but it still has a similar, wacky vibe.

Four stars

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