Saturday, October 8, 2011

Spider Boy by Ralph Fletcher

Spider Boy is the new kid in school. He hates it. He'd rather spend time with his pet tarantula than make friends. When his science teacher pairs him with another girl in class he is forced to communicate with others. While 7th grader Bobby likes being with her, he is bothered by the fact she likes Chick Hall, a boy who has been bullying him since day 1. When Bobby catches Chick cheating on a test things escalate in a dramatic climax.

Great pacing, plot, and characters. I loved how this book incorporated nonfiction elements with fiction elements. I kept thinking of students I should recommend it too and how I had never read a book quite like it. Fletcher uses facts about spiders in each chapter as a way of explaining what is happening to the character. At first they are just facts, but as the story proceeds more personal information is sprinkled in with the facts while relating to what is happening to Bobby. For instance, when Lucky kisses him the facts are about spiders mating and when Chick attacks him the facts are about spiders predators and Bobby says how he feels about it. The bully, Chick Hall, isn't one dimensional and Lucky tries to explain that she likes Chick because he isn't boring. She doesn't acknowledge or recognize his mean streak.

Great complexity of characters and situations.

Reading Level 4.4

:-) :-) :-) :-) :-) 5 out of 5 Smileys

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