Smackdown Books 2017

Arlene's smackdown17 book montage

The Memory of Things
Hour of the Bees
The Gospel Truth
Ultraman, Vol. 1
The Bunker Diary
Trouble Is a Friend of Mine
Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy
The Hired Girl
An Ember in the Ashes
The Porcupine of Truth
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir
Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans
Goodbye Stranger
Beautiful Blue World
The Blackthorn Key
All American Boys

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Round One ...Counting by 7's is victorious.

Hokey Pokey: A unique allegory about "coming of age" without any real crisis involved.  This book, however, is too silly for the age group it is aimed at.  Likely younger readers will not quite get the full meaning and older students will not have the patience to relax into the seemingly childishness of it all.  Although, we did like the "bikes are horses" concept ( mainly because both of us still call our bikes "our trusty steeds" and sometimes imagine slapping its flanks in order to power up a hill) , the concept is taken too far and likely will be dismissed by the critical adolescent reader.  Jerry Spinelli does try to wrap up the ideas in a nice parcel in the end but it is all a little too late....for us we will take our "right arm out" and instead of "shaking it all about" we will just leave it out.


Counting by 7s is our winner and will move to the next round. Although some events seemed contrived in their resolution, the short chapters and changing points of view add to its readability.  The "quirky" main character is delightful and the plot portrays an incident which lives out the greatest identified fear of early adolescents: fear of the death of one or more parent.  We can see junior high students loving the main character's resilience and tenacity as well as her ability to bring out the strengths in others. 
Submitted by:  Robin and Maureen (and Maureen's reading buddy - Brenda)


  1. Both Arlene and I have used this book in our grade eight classes to help with writing journals. I love Sloan's writing and am so pleased to see it move on sorry Jerry.

  2. Page 176 and 177 in particular provided lots of fodder for frames to begin very interesting quick writes.