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Book Reviews, Early/Young Readers, Lovelace Award Nominee, Middle Grade Readers

MELONHEAD by Katy Kelly…a LOVELACE nominee

I have mixed feelings after reading Melonhead by Katy Kelly.  The main character is a ten-year-old boy named Adam Melon, although he prefers “Melonhead.”  The title and Gillian Johnson’s illustrations are fresh and funny.

There is humor in the story as Melonhead attempts to create a “re-invention” as assigned by his science teacher:  using something old for a new and useful, helpful, or necessary purpose.  Along the way Melonhead takes several detours into ideas that seem great at the time but don’t turn out the way he intends or expects.

Melonhead is likeable, as is his friend Sam.  The additional child characters are vague, with the exception of Lucy Rose–whom the author has starred in several of her own books.  Even Lucy Rose, however, doesn’t have a well-defined role in Melonhead’s story.  The best parts of the story are the ones focused solely on Melonhead.

I was disappointed in the ending.  I thought it failed to provide a satisfying conclusion to the events Melonhead has gone through in the course of the story.  I also thought his “re-invention” resolution was contrived and patronizing.  The idea was absolutely realistic in thought and execution, but the response within the competition itself is, in my opinion, misguided.

In summary, Melonhead was a short, easy read.  It was both amusing and sweet in parts.  It was all right, but I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend it.

As always, this is only my opinion and I am ALWAYS interested in hearing from readers with their OWN opinions–regardless of whether they agree or disagree with me!

A NOTE ON OTHER LOVELACE NOMINEES:

I read Dragon in the Sock Drawer by Kate Klimo two years ago as a bedtime story with my children.  They were bored.  They were only 6 and 4 at the time, so maybe too young for the content.  I have to say I agreed with them, though.  I was excited to the read the book; I thought it would be a great adventure story.  I was disappointed.  It wasn’t a bad book, just not my favorite.  I think there are better dragon stories out there, but if you are really into dragons, you may enjoy this story more than I did.

Make Way for Dyamonde Daniels by Nikki Grimes is a spectacular story!  I highly recommend reading this one (and all the others in the series).  Look at my archives to find my review of the Dyamonde Daniels books.

I also enjoyed No Girls Allowed (Dogs Okay) by Trudi Trueit when I read it in my summer reading in 2010.  It’s a fun, easy read with lots of humor and I would recommend this one especially for boys in the Division I (grades 3-5) age range.

Please Write in This Book by Mary Amato is another one of my random off-the-library-shelf picks a year ago.  I enjoyed it very much.  It’s a story about a classroom in which the teacher has set aside a writing area for students to write in a notebook (the book of the title).  They are encouraged to use writing to express themselves and work through problems and issues that come up for them in the classroom.  The students expand the perameters to include thoughts and feelings beyond the classroom as well.  It’s a great example of the power of writing, words, and problem-solving.

I am looking forward to reading the rest of the nominees in the coming months!! Join me!!

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