Friday, October 22, 2010

A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban

A parked light blue Mercury car.

My bike found its bumper because I was reading a book and biking at the same time.


Some mistakes really, really hurt.

In the book, A Crooked Kind of Perfect, Zoe's Dad makes all sorts of mistakes such as buying 432 rolls of toilet paper, or buying an organ instead of a piano, or signing Zoe up for piano lessons where they use a pretend piano on paper versus the real thing.

Zoe's sense of humor comes through right from page one:

How It Was Supposed to Be

I was supposed to play the piano.
The piano is a beautiful instrument.
People wear ball gowns and tuxedos to hear the piano.

With the piano, you could play Carnegie hall. You could wear a tiara. You could come out on stage wearing gloves up to your elbows. You could pull them off, one finger at a time.

Everybody is quiet when you are about to play the piano. They don’t even breathe. They wait for the first notes.

They wait.
They wait.

And then you lift your hands high above your head and slam them down on the keys and the first notes come crashing out and your fingers fly up and down and your foot –in its tiny slipper with rubies at the toe- your foot peeks out from under your gown to press lightly on the pedals.

A piano is glamorous. Sophisticated. Worldly.
It is a wonderful thing to play the piano.

How it is

 I play the organ.
A wood-grained, vinyl-seated, wheeze-bag organ.
The Perfectone D-60.

The beginning of the story hints that Zoe's father has some sort of problem. I wasn't sure if Dad was dumb or mentally ill. I was leaning toward dumb after reading the chapter titled, Float like  a Butterfly. He was almost cartoonish in terms of all the online classes he was taking. The author was being funny but it didn't work for me until later in the story when she portrays him as caring, sensitive and crazy fun.  Dad likes to dance "...he's bouncing and spinning around the room [to a Polka she's playing on the organ] and using some kind of accent saying "vun day' and 'dis vellow'" (p33). On the other hand, Mom is a numbers crunching machine. At the competition "she has written down the names of all the competitors and drawn columns next to them with little slash marks for each mistake. She writes down the judges comments, too, in code with plus signs and minus signs and stars. This is how Mom has fun." (p. 180)

Zoe loses friends and gain friends. She enters the Perfecto-rama competition and learns that it is okay to make mistakes and the important thing in life, whether it is a competition or overcoming personal issues like her Dad, is to keep going and never give up.

Reading Level 6.3

Scholastic book trailer video

:-) :-) :-) :-) 4 Smileys

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