Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Jeremy Bender vs. the Cupcake Cadets by Eric Luper

Jeremy Bender loves to tinker on his father's antique boat with dreams of driving it himself one day. When he accidentally damages the engine and finds out it will cost over $400 to repair he despairs. Argh! His dad will never let him touch the boat again, much less drive it, he thinks.  When he spots the poster for the Windjammer Whirl contest with a $500 first place prize, he sees the answer to his problems. So what if the competition is only for Cupcake Cadets, a girl organization like Girl Scouts or Campfire Girls. When the boys masquerade as girls they have no clue how difficult it is going to be.

The humor in this story is in the embarrassing moments and mistakes Jeremy and his friend, Slater, have while trying to earn Cadet badges. They can't cook. They can't camp. They can't play lacrosse. When another cadet learns their secret and blackmails them, they learn that being a girl isn't as easy as it looks and that even their blackmailer has some redeeming qualities. A subplot involving a bully has the boys creatively trying to deal with him as girls. The contrast between how genders treat each other would make for good book club or classroom discussions. The end has them getting along better with girls, bullies, and each other. A funny book that is good for grades 4-6.

3 Smileys

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