Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and Some Other Things That Aren't As Scary

Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and Some Other Things That Aren't As Scary, Maybe, Depending on How You Feel About Lost Lands, Stray Cellphones, Creatures from the Sky, Parents who disappear in Peru, a Man Named Lars Farf, and One Other Story We Could Not Finish So Maybe You Can Help Us Out, Stories by Nick Hornby, Neil Gaiman, Jon Scieszka, Jonathan Safran Foer and more. Delacourt, 2005 -- publisher supplied review copy

I would just like to point out that the introduction to this book of short stories by Lemony Snicket is utterly and completely laugh-out-loud perfection.

It served as an outstanding introductory read for eighth grade English classes making their first visit to the school library this school year. Now eighth graders are a tough audience. They have heard the library spiel for two years in a row. They know where the Fiction is, They know where the NonFiction is shelved. They know they have to have their ID with them to check out books.

My lesson plan, as the substitute librarian, was to deliver the stern warnings about book damage, overdue items and other "cheerful" library topics.

-- sigh --

As first period slouched in, they fell on their chairs and draped their shoulders into a position on the table tops to best cradle their heads for sleep.

After the teacher arrived, I opened this book to the title page and began to read the "title without end." Heads began too pop up. I continued to the introduction. By the time I finished Snicket's first paragraph, every pair of eyes was on me and as I proceeded, tired faces began to assume a degree of alertness and mouths began to turn upward. When I arrived at the "tedious" snippets from "tedious" stories, they were completely with me. Laughter was filling the library. The kids completely got the artful skewering of the children's literature standards and afterwards, at least half the class asked where the library copy of this book could be found.

"Well, the library does not have it yet, but I've left a note for your librarian to get it."

Oh , I hope she does.

Buy this book for the introduction alone. The quirky, off beat and NEVER "tedious" short stories are a bonus. Also, the cover completely drew their attention. The last story in the book is served up with an unlikely set of characters and ends abruptly, with a request that the reader finish the story. I would love to read what they come up with.

This title is the next recommendation for fans of Guys Write for Guys Read: Boys' Favorite Authors Write About Being Boys.

This is A MUST HAVE.
Elementary school libraries, junior high, high school, go ahead. Put is on your acquisition list RIGHT NOW!

Yes, NOW!


tanita✿davis said...

BRILLIANT idea to read this instead! Fun instead of rules. A reminder that school is supposed to be somewhat about the best days of your life... if only a moment at a time.

Susan Thomsen said...

Camille, it sounds perfect for the home library, too! I'll add it to the ever-growing list.

Sarah Stevenson said...

This sounds like such a great book! Lots of authors I love in there, and an irresistible title. I can see why the students woke up in a hurry. :)

teacherninja said...

Wow! Sounds awesome. Can't wait. thanks!

Brimful Curiosities said...

That is some title! My mouth "began to turn upward" reading your description. Thanks for the fun post and hooray for making reading exciting.

Jan von Harz said...

I love Guys Write so much that I bought copies for several of my colleagues, so I will definitely check this one out. Thanks for the recommendation.

Amy Nichols said...

I am buying this book now. Right now. Thank you.

Kimbra Kasch said...

Lemony Snicket - what's not to like?

Lynn E. Hazen said...

Sounds like a fun book. I will reserve this one from my library because I am not sure I will remember the title! Hope they have it. Thanks for the lead.