Friday, September 24, 2010

Wonderful Weirdos of Literature Series - Installment #3

Welcome to the third and final installment of the first annual Bugs and Bunnies Wonderful Weirdos of Literature Series.

Wondering what this is? Click on the link back at the beginning, and all will be revealed. Then come on back to this post, and we'll continue.

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Back, then? Alrighty. So, in this inaugural year of the BnBWWoLS, Installment #1 contained books I've reviewed in full, with brief summaries and links to the full reviews. Installment #2 consisted of books I've read, but have not yet reviewed (though I hope to get that remedied in the future).

Which brings us up to date for today, and Installment #3 - more books I've read but not (yet) reviewed. However, there is one bonus: there are links to two authors below, which will take you not only to their author spotlights, but also to reviews I've written of other books of theirs.

Right, then. Off we go:

Chester's Way, by Kevin Henkes
Ages 4 and up

Chester is a child of habit. He always cuts his sandwiches just so, always gets out of bed on the same side, and is a stickler for double-knotting his shoes. Wilson is practically a carbon copy of Chester, making their best-friendship a no-brainer. The days go along perfectly predictably for Chester and Wilson, which is just the way they like it.

And then, Lily moves into the neighborhood. Lily, who talks backwards to herself (out loud), never leaves the house without donning a disguise, and always arms herself with a loaded squirt gun. Lily wants to be friends with Chester and Wilson, and sets upon a very determined friend-making campaign - in her own way, naturally. Can these two order-and-structure loving friends survive the free-wheeling unpredictability that is Lily?

King Bidgood's in the Bathtub, by Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood
Ages 4 and up

King Bidgood has his own ideas about how to rule his kingdom, and much to his faithful Page's chagrin, he has gleefully decided to do it all from his tub. The members of his court, at the Page's frantic requests, try all manner of strategies to lure the king out of the bath. He cheerfully obliges each suggestion, with one caveat: they must join him - fully clothed, in all their courtly finery - in the tub. They battle in the tub. They lunch in the tub. They fish in the tub. They even dance in the tub. But the only ones to leave that tub are some very soggy, frustrated courtiers. Is there anyone who can convince the king to leave his bath?

As you're reading this very fun tale, take the time to linger over the pictures, which add even more to the story.

Weird Parents, by Audrey Wood
Ages 5 and up

This is the story of a boy who has weird parents, and they cause him no end of embarrassment. They call him "Honeycakes" at the bus stop. They pack weird things in his lunch box. They dress weird. And that's just the shortlist.

The boy wishes his parents weren't so weird. Sure, they have some redeeming qualities, his parents: like tucking him into bed, and getting him treats to eat, and playing games with him, and reading spooky stories with him, and...hmmm. Maybe his parents aren't so bad, after all. Even if they are weird.

Weirdos From Another Planet, by Bill Watterson

Precocious six-year-old Calvin and his stuffed-tiger-best-friend Hobbes are at it again in this compilation of comics, frazzling Calvin's parents, incurring the wrath of his babysitter, Rosalyn, frustrating Calvin's teacher Miss Wormwood, and infuriating Calvin's classmate Susie with just about every adventure they embark upon.

From Calvin's crafting of ghoulish snowman scenes, to Calvin and Hobbes' harrowing downhill wagon rides, to Hobbes' subtle pokes at Calvin's somewhat gullible nature, to the many zany schemes Calvin and Hobbes cook up together - which never seem to turn out like Calvin thought they would, Bill Watterson guides you through the world as Calvin sees it. You will be laughing, and crying, and thinking long after you've finished reading these comics.

Young Arthur is a resident of Ratbridge. Or, rather, a resident under Ratbridge. He's not sure why he lives below ground, except that his inventor grandfather says that they must. They share this underground world with curious creatures: boxtrolls, cabbageheads, rabbit women, and the rather fearsome trotting badgers.

One day, Arthur gets caught above-ground on one of his
nightly forays to the surface world to gather food. The rather nasty Snatcher, his grandfather's old nemesis, has stolen the machine Arthur's grandfather built for him to be able to fly about, and he doesn't know how to get back home.

But Arthur is not without friends. He is helped by the kindly retired lawyer Willbury Nibble, and the underlings who live with him: the boxtrolls Fish, Egg, and Shoe, and the shy cabbagehead Titus. Then there's the pirates-turned-laundry-workers, talking rats and crows, and oh! we can't forget The Man in the Iron Socks. They are all determined to get Arthur back home safely.

Arthur and his friends soon discover that something stinks in Ratbridge, and it isn't just the cheese: Someone has begun hunting Wild English Cheeses again - an outlawed sport. And mysterious goings-on are afoot at the old Cheese Hall. And all the entrances to the underground world have been sealed up. And the boxtrolls and cabbageheads are all disappearing. And the underlings' tunnels are starting to flood. Grandfather is worried, and they all know Snatcher is the root of this mystery. Somehow. Whatever will they do?

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And that, my friends, is that. If this is your first time at the Wonderful Weirdos of Literature Series, I hope you'll click the link in this sentence, which will take you to the main page, where you can catch up on all the fun you haven't seen yet. If you've been here all along, thanks so much for taking this trip with me, and I hope you had as much fun as I did. But whether you've just found the series, or whether you're quite familiar with it, I hope you're looking forward to next year's BnBWWoL already.

I know I am.

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