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BOOK REVIEWS, Contemporary Realistic Fiction, MAUD HART LOVELACE NOMINEE, Middle Grade Readers, Read-Aloud Suggestions

CALVIN COCONUT: TROUBLE MAGNET by Graham Salisbury…LOVELACE nominee 2012-13

by Graham SalisburyI just finished reading Calvin Coconut: Trouble Magnet for the second time.  The first time I read it was two summers ago because I found it at our local library and it looked like it might be a fun read.  I read it and thought it was OK.

I didn’t really give it any more thought until I saw that it was one of the Lovelace Award nominees for the coming school year (2012-13).  I decided to re-read it.  This time I read it aloud with my children (ages 8 and 9-1/2).  They LOVED it.  My 9-year-old now wants to read the rest of the Calvin Coconut series!  I have to say that I enjoyed the book MUCH more when I read it this second time.  Maybe it was because I read it with children for whom Mr. Salisbury intended.    Reading Calvin with my kids helped me to see some of the humor and fun that I missed the first time around by myself.

Calvin is starting Fourth Grade in his hometown of Kailua, Hawaii.  Kind, earnest and ready-for-fun, Calvin has good intentions but somehow those intentions backfire into situations that require difficult explanations to parents and teachers.  Along with his friends, Julio, Maya and Willy, we accompany Calvin as he brings a centipede to class, spills juice on the prized Wrestling T-shirt of the biggest, meanest kid at school and accidentally locks the teenage daughter of his mother’s friend in her bedroom–requiring her to crawl out of the window in her pajamas.  (This last situation had my kids roaring with laughter while we read it!)

In conclusion, Calvin Coconut is an easy romp of a read for 2nd-5th Grade.  It offers an enjoyable independent reading opportunity and, if my experience is any indication, it will provide a rollicking good time as a read-aloud for bedtime, family time or the classroom!


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