I <3 Lunch Lady. Here is book #4 LUNCH LADY AND THE SUMMER CAMP SHAKEDOWN by Jarrett Krosoczka ((Knopf, 2010). I actually wrote a short reader's guide for LL and Baby Mouse for Random House a couple of years ago. In this installment, LL and Betty go to take care of the cooking duties at a summer camp. It just happens to be the same summer camp attended by the trio of Dee, Hector, and Terrence who have helped LL and Betty in some of their other capers. Of course, it is not a quiet summer. There is some sort of slime monster attacking the camp and the camp ends up on lockdown. To the rescue, LL and Betty! Funny, tongue in cheek, adventure all in black and white and yellow. Spare and clean and quick and rather like eating M&Ms: I always want some more.
Neil Gaiman's INSTRUCTIONS (Harper, 2010) is absolutely charming and lyrical and visually absorbing as well (illustrations by Charles Vess). In a lovely prose poem, Gaiman provides readers with "instructions" for the journey. Be kind, feed lost animals, avoid sisters locked in a tower, and more. Along the path's twists and turns lurk dangers and friends alike. These instructions are useful outside of this journey as well and are a wonderful allegory about how to live one's life, too. This is one I plan to read over and over, particularly aloud as they beg to resonate into the air. And thanks to Kate Messner for giving me the link to Neil reading the poem : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bi2pBZGJqj8
BOOM (David Fickling Books, 2010) is a real departure for Mark Haddon (THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHTTIME). Jimbo and his friend Charlie are spying on their teachers hoping to overhear what they think of Jimbo's scholastic progress (or lack thereof) when they hear more than they bargained for. Two of their teachers speak a language Charlie and Jimbo have never encountered. Before long, the two are enmeshed in a mystery that has them being pursued by strange men, men who can cut metal with the heat coming from their fingertips. Who are these people? Jimbo and Charlie end up traveling much further than planned to uncover the answers to their questions. Tie this one to COSMIC and MY TEACHER IS AN ALIEN series by Bruce Coville for some interesting reading ladders.
And now back to figuring out which books to pack for our vacay.