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Month in review

Reviews
Adventure on Whalebone Island by M.A. Wilson
Black Hammer Volume 2: The Event by Jeff Lemire
The Dark Lady by Irene Adler
A Darkness Absolute by Kelley Armstrong
Ghostbusters 101: Everyone Answers the Call by Erik Burnham and Dan Schoening
Habibi by Craig Thompson
If You Find This by Matthew Baker
Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina
Koko Be Good by Jen Wang
The League of Beastly Dreadfuls by Holly Grant
Locke & Key, Volume 2: Head Games by Joe Hill
Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
The Magician's Secret by Carolyn Keene
Not the Killing Type by Lorna Barrett
Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins
Otis and the Scarecrow by Loren Long
Patina by Jason Reynolds
Pierre the Maze Detective: The Search for the Stolen Maze Stone by Hiro Kamigaki
A Pug's Tale by Alison Pace
The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente
Sabotage at Willow Woods by Carolyn Keene
Smashie McPerter and the Mystery of Room 11 by N. Griffin
Speedy in Oz by Ruth Plumly Thompson
Sunflower House by Eve Bunting
Teddy Mars: Almost a World Record Breaker by Molly B. Burnham
The Terrible Two Go Wild by Mac Barnett, Jory John, and Kevin Cornell
Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry by Susan Vaught
Waiting for Unicorns by Beth Hautala
The War at Ellsmere by Faith Erin Hicks
Welcome to the Real World by Angela Melick
Winterhouse by Ben Guterson

Miscellaneous
December 2017 Sources
December 2017 Summary
Five stars in 2017
It's Monday, What Are You Reading (January 01)
It's Monday, What Are You Reading (January 08)
It's Monday, What Are You Reading (January 15)
It's Monday, What Are You Reading (January 22)
It's Monday, What Are You Reading (January 29)

Road Essays
The transformative power of the cornfield: magic in the Marvelous Land of Oz

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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


Smashie McPerter and the Mystery of Room 11: 01/21/18

cover art

Smashie McPerter and the Mystery of Room 11 by N. Griffin is an upper elementary aged mystery. The class hamster has gone missing and Smashie decides she needs to figure our who did it.

I get that kids that age spend most of their time in school but there are only so many wacky classroom stories I can plow through before my brain starts to turn to mush.

To make this book stand out, we're first given a titular character with a wacky name. Nothing says appealing more than a nickname you've never heard before.

Now to add to the mix, change the usual setting. Give the class a substitute. Make the substitute significantly different. If the original teacher is female, make the new one male. Or visa versa.

Then make something GO WRONG. Make it something get canceled or scheduled that normally isn't. Put the kids in a pageant or a play or put them in charge of some school wide event. Or in this case, have the class pet go missing.

Have whatever the wrong thing is be something the main character is really not into, bad at, scared of, or have some tragic history with. In this case, Smashie doesn't like the hamster, so everyone thinks she's part of its disappearance.

Make the main character have to get into the thing they don't like. Hilarity will ensue and eventually the main character will have a change or heart, maybe do some character growth, and come out a better and possibly more popular person.

Yes, this book does all these things. It's a little After School Special in print. If you have a class pet, have a thing for hamsters, then go ahead and read the book. If you don't, feel free to skip it.

Two stars

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