Monday, May 10, 2010
"Seven-year-old Hailey Twitch knows three things for sure: who she’s the boss of, how to throw a tantrum, and above all, how to get exactly what she wants. But all that changes when Hailey gets paired up with annoying Addie Jokobeck on the class project. No matter what Hailey does, she can’t seem to change her teacher’s mind.
At home, a cranky Hailey is feeling sorry for herself when – poof! -- Maybelle, a magic sprite, comes flying out of Hailey’s dollhouse. Maybelle’s on probation with the Department of Magic, and on a special mission to get Hailey to have fun.
The only problem? The invisible Maybelle starts causing a lot of trouble, and when Hailey’s teacher wants to know who’s to blame, Hailey takes responsibility. After all, Hailey Twitch is not a snitch! Now if only Hailey can convince the Department of Magic that Maybelle has reformed…"
"Addie Jokobeck sits next to me in Miss Stephanie's second grade class. Right now she is moving her pencil up and down and across while we practice our words that begin with T. Her pencil is just plain blue. It does not have glitter on it. Or feathers. Or sparkles. Like mine. That's 'cause Addie Jokobeck thinks glitter and feathers and sparkles make your printing wobbly.
"Hailey," Addie whispers. "I think you should be keeping your eyes on your own paper." She smiles at me. Addie Jokobeck is really in love with rules.
"Class," Miss Stephanie says from her big desk at the front of the room. "I have a special announcement."
I sit up and pay attention. I love special announcements, as long as they are not: "Hailey Twitch, please keep your eyes right on your own paper."
"We are going to be doing a special project," Miss Stephanie says. "For School Diversity Week, you will each be making food from a different country, and dressing up as a person from that country. Your parents will be helping you, and you will be working with a partner."
Partners! I love to work in partners! It is like half the work with twice the fun! I quickly look to the front of the room for Antonio Fuerte. Antonio is from Mexico. He told me it is very hot and beautiful there. I try to catch his eye by wiggling my eyebrows up and down and giving him a look. The look says, "Me and you will be partners." My second choice for a partner is my friend Russ Robertson. This is because Russ is very easy to boss. I try to give Russ that same look. But then Miss Stephanie says, "You will be partners with the person you sit next to in class."
Miss Stephanie is a very good teacher. She has long blond hair and wears lots of dress-up pants. But she is not very good when she is telling me I am going to be partners with Addie Jokobeck who is really in love with rules. Addie Jokobeck gives me a big wide smile, so big that I can see the space of her one missing tooth on the top.
I raise my hand. "Maybe we should pick our own partners," I say. "That might be fun." "No," Miss Stephanie says. Then Miss Stephanie says that me and Addie Jokobeck will be doing the country of France. "Oooh, I love France," Addie says. "That's where French fries come from."
"My grandma has a French poodle," I tell her. "It's a girl dog, but she named it Stewart after my grandpa. It still goes to the bathroom a lot on her rug, even though she's had it for five whole years." Addie looks shocked. "France is not as exciting as Mexico," I say. "It is very boring in France, I think, if the best thing they have there is French fries." On the way out of school, the meanest girl in room four, Natalie Brice, twirls around and says, "I am partners with Antonio."
"That's nice," I say. Natalie Brice is not my friend because she thinks she is the boss of me. Being the boss of someone means that you are in charge of them. It means if you want them to do something you say, "You are going to do this right now," and they say, "Okay."
This is a great chapter book for kids. It jumps into some magical realism they can relate to and easily comprehend. Lauran Barnholt has done a wonderful job wording things in a way that kids can grasp what is going on without being confused by words too big for their vocabulary. I typically don't read these types of books for this website, but Lauren is such a talented YA writer, I thought I'd share this wonderful chapter book written by her. The main character, Hailey Twitch, is so funny. Her internal thought process is great and made me laugh. I think any school-aged kid who picks it up is going to enjoy it.