by Katy Kelly; Gillian Johnson Print book : Elementary and junior high school : Fiction  |  1st ed
Vegetables can be hazardous to your sense of smell   (2012-08-16)
The best-laid plans oft go awry, and so do the impromptu ones. No one knows this better than Adam Melon and his best friend Sam. When Adam's mom invites the new girl in school, Pip, over for dinner, disaster is waiting around the corner. Or in this case, inside the duct-work. Adam's mom has resolved to provide healthier meals this year, and thanks to a new Vegalicious cookbook promising recipes kids will love, she is on a creative roll. The kids are awed by the work that has gone into her masterpieces...and horrified at the prospect of eating the bizarre concoctions. Their efforts to spare her feelings have unforeseen consequences when combined with the heat and humidity of September in Washington, D.C., though, and Adam and Sam learn some valuable lessons about honesty (and mold).
I started off thinking this book was silly and cute; I never expected to be laughing out loud by the end. Adam's antics put a grin on my face primarily because he was so earnest and full of "boy logic." Katy Kelly must have (or have had) boys in her household. She does a great job capturing the thought processes of ten-year-old males--or at least it seems so to me, seeing as how I have never actually been a boy myself but do have one in my home every other weekend.
I also appreciated that this story was so positive: all characters meant well and respected each other. This held true across all generations, genders, ethnicities, religions, and physical abilities. I loved the subplot wherein Pip worked to get the teacher to treat her the same as she did all the other students instead of focusing on Pip's wheelchair and cutting her too much slack.
My one quibble was that I can't imagine any parents allowing two ten-year-old boys to visit the Washington Monument and the Air and Space Museum by themselves. Maybe if they were in their mid to late teens, but definitely not fifth graders. It's just a bad idea on so many levels!
For readers' advisors: story and character doorways. Girls will probably like reading this story, but it's targeted toward upper grade elementary school boys. Plus there are a few jokes in there aimed at adults, which makes it a good choice to read with your kids.
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