Thursday, August 12, 2004

Truth and Justice

Shredderman : Secret Identity by Wendelin Van Draanen, 2004

OK, Captain Underpants fans, here is the book you have been waiting for.

Nolan Byrd and all the kids at school have suffered at the hands of Bubba for years. He is just plain mean. The kids have to tolerate his stealing, his lying, his cheating, and even adopt the ugly nicknames Bubba has bestowed on them.

He calls you names. He steals your stuff. He breathes putrid fumes in your face.
And even though I have always wanted to do something about it, I could never figure out what. I'm half Bubba's size and don't exactly want to die in elementary school.
So, I just eat lunch far away from him, make room when he's cutting in line, and let him call me Nerd.

It's not fair but at least I am still alive.

Nolan finds an inspired solution to the Bubba problem when his teacher assigns a newspaper project., a website devoted to exposing Bubba and his dirty tricks is born. Nolan's site has far reaching effects that that even help change the tone and spirit of the school in a positive way.

Readers are completely caught up in Nolan's excitement and cheer his comical and witty victory over Bubba. Nolan's own self confidence improves as he takes control of his life. Van Draanen's writing is fast paced, smart and funny. Once I started the book, I HAD to finish it. At 144 pages it goes quickly.

There really is a site with information about the books, the author, some activities and tips on good writing and reporting.

This would be an interesting read-aloud and could spark some terrific discussions about civility, kindness and tolerance. Many books about bullies are heavy handed and flat. This book addresses the subject with great humor and a light touch.

Nolan, (Shredderman) has the power to do enormous good, thankfully there are more Shreddermans coming.

Shredderman : Attack of the Tagger, August 2004
Shredderman : Meet the Gecko, January 2005

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