If you're new here, just click on the link in the paragraph above, and that will get you all caught up on the wonderful literary weirdness that has been an annual celebration here at Bugs and Bunnies since 2010. Then come back to this post to continue the fun.
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Back now? Great! Let's get going, shall we? So far, we've celebrated with three different categories:
Today, we wrap up with:
Activism, Or: Something to Believe In
These are characters who know what's right, and they know what's needed, and by golly, they're gonna find a way to make it happen.
CLICK, CLACK, MOO Cows That Type, written by Doreen Cronin, pictures by Betsy Lewin
Ages 5 to 7
Farmer Brown's cows found his old typewriter in the barn. He heard them click-clacking on the keys all day long, and he couldn't believe it. Cows that type? Impossible! He went down to check it out, and found a typed note on the barn door. The cows had a request: electric blankets, to ward off the cold of the barn at night.
When Farmer Brown read the note, he was incensed. First they're in there click-clacking on a typewriter all day, and now this? He typed out a note of his own: no blankets!
And that's when the cows went on strike...
That Girl Lucy Moon, by Amy Timberlake
Ages 9 to 13
Lucy Moon has always been unafraid to fight injustice. Back in elementary school, she swooped in to save ants from magnifying-glass-wielding assassins. She supported animal rights...during hunting season. She wore her signature green-and-yellow, made-of-hemp hat every day to call attention to the plight of third world workers. She started petitions. She even organized protests. Lucy had gumption.
But when she got to junior high, Lucy didn't feel any of that gumption. Being different in elementary school made a kid cool, but being different in junior high made a kid a misfit. Lucy didn't it understand it at all.
Then came the afternoon of October 3rd. A wind tried to lift the hemp hat from her head. Her best friend Zoë Rossignol called Lucy out on her uncharacteristically meek response to a punishment they both knew was unfair. And two kids got arrested for sledding down Wiggins Hill. Rumor had it that it was Miss Ilene Viola Wiggins herself who demanded the arrests.
When the Turtle Rock Times refused to run the arrest story, Lucy and Zoë smelled a cover-up – and Lucy's gumption came roaring back. But this fight for justice lands Lucy the label "bad influence," and soon her support system feels like it's falling apart. And then Lucy begins to wonder: Is the fight worth it?
Neversink, by Barry Wolverton, with drawings by Sam Nielson
Ages 8 to 12
On the small island of Neversink, Lockley J. Puffin lives with his wife Lucy and his fellow auk colony, along with his two best friends: Egbert – a know-it-all walrus, and Ruby – a snarky hummingbird. It's a pleasant life, with plenty of fish and beautiful views.
But to the south, on the mainland of Tytonia, Rozbell has just been crowned king of the Owl Parliament. The owls face a dwindling food supply, and to solve the problem, the scheming Rozbell sets his sights on taking over Neversink. When the owls come, they embark on a path certain to destroy the auks' way of life. After several attempts to defeat the owls, it becomes clear that it's up to Lockley to save the colony.
But, can he?
Chomp, by Carl Hiaasen
Ages 10 and up
Wahoo Cray's dad, Mickey, is a professional animal wrangler in the Florida Everglades who's been unable to take any jobs since a frozen iguana fell from a palm tree and landed on his head. Wahoo helps keep things going, caring for the animals that live in the zoo that is the Crays' backyard.
Then along comes Derek Badger's reality TV show crew. They want to hire Mickey to wrangle animals for the show, "Expedition Survivial." Their offer is enough to cover the mortgage payment and then some, and Wahoo convinces his dad to take the job.
Derek shows himself to be far less than the survivalist he makes himself out to be on the show. Mickey's disgust for the man and his poor treatment of the animals, threatens to lose Mickey the job – and therefore the mortgage money – and it's left to Wahoo to smooth tensions.
Along the way, Tuna comes into the mix – a girl from Wahoo's school needing a place to hide from her abusive dad. Wahoo convinces Mickey to let them take her on the job with them. Then, when Wahoo, Tuna and Mickey are on location in the swamp with Derek and the crew, Derek gets chomped on the nose by a wild bat and goes missing – right as a huge storm is brewing.
And then as the search for Derek gets underway, Tuna's dad shows up...
Here Lies the Librarian, by Richard Peck
Ages 10 and up
it's 1914, and fourteen-year-old Peewee McGrath lives with her big brother Jake. Their parents gone, they live on their own, running a struggling garage, and fending off the sabotage attempts of a rival garage in town run by the underhanded Kirbys. Peewee loves her independence, preferring to wear overalls and help Jake build his racecar to wearing dresses and doing "girl" things.
But then four female library students pull up to their station, their car in need of repair. When they return later to reopen the tiny town library that's been closed since the previous librarian died, Peewee gets to know the young women better. And soon she comes to discover that being female and being independent don't have to be two different things.
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And that, as they say, is that. I hope you've enjoyed this Third Annual Bugs and Bunnies Wonderful Weirdos of Literature Series. If you haven't read these books yet, I hope you will. And if you have, I hope you found them as fun to read as I have.
Leave a comment or drop me an email – bugsandbunnies (at) verizon (dot) net – if you have suggestions for books to include in next year's series.
Before I go, I'd like to leave you with this snippet from the very first Wonderful Weirdos of Literature post back in 2010:
Remember Merriam-Webster's definition of weirdo? "A person who is extraordinarily strange or eccentric." There is a wide range of Weird in this world. Some of us are more so than others. We Weirdos may be different, but always remember: we are extraordinarily so.