Friday, August 19, 2011

Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze

Hey, guys, I've been busy again, but I'm back and I agree with both of nboy's latest comments about the Great Harry Potter Controversy:

man this conversation is long i really dont like harry potter but jk and rick are both great but rick is greater

Right on, nboy! Rick is indeed greater and this conversation has gone long. Time to move onto something else, like telling you boys about great reads.

Attention all you Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans---here's a book very much in the DWK style but a whole lot better. It's Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze by the awesome Alan Silberberg. There are drawings all throughout the book, like the DWK series, and lots and lots of very funny situations. And, like DWK, it's brilliant at catching those times when real life is like a cartoon, BUT--here's the kicker--it's MUCH better at giving you characters who act like real kids, grownups who sometimes act like grownups (which means they act like cartoons sometimes and also like real people), but Mr. Silberberg is especially good at giving us characters you really care about. By the end of the story, you REALLY want Milo and his dad to be OK.

The story starts out as Milo begins a year in a new school. He has all the trouble you'd expect in going to a new school--trying to fit in, finding new friends, etc. Besides all that, he's fallen for a very beautiful girl--who doesn't even know he's alive! Plus, the girl next door keeps leaving him notes all the time. What does that mean? Plus, he misses the school bus because he eats his Cheerios one at a time! But as you read, you find out there's more going on. The new house is the fifth one in the few years. The second was the "Fog House" because that's where he and his family lived when his mom died. Now his family is still trying to cope but they're like emotional zombies, going through life without any feeling. Especially his dad, who comes home, cooks dinner (the same three basic dinners), reads the paper for an hour and goes to bed. Will they ever be all right? Maybe--especially if Milo can be friends with the strange lady across the street.

I can't tell you how much I liked this book, guys!! It's touching and funny at the same time. It's touching, yes, because of all that Milo and his family go through but it is also funny. Like the first time the beautiful girl notices Milo (it's when he sneezes right in front of her!) And the illustrations are funny. Look at the different styles of haircuts for Milo's dad on page 125. Or the classroom picture on p. 63. But the two best illustrations are on pages 195 and 37. The first is the "Dad suit". Really touches your heart. The other is Milo and his new best friend sitting in front of a store and talking about junk food. We've all done this, guys. That's why this book is so great and why Mr. Silberberg is so brilliant--he perfectly captures the sweet moments of real life, the sad times, and the funny times when life is like a cartoon. You'll come away from this book feeling really good--and that's a whole lot more than I got from Greg Heffley. So don't sit around guys! Go get Milo and enjoy!

(BTW, my copy of this book was an ARC--that means it was an Advanced Reading Copy that Mr. Silberberg was nice enough to send me. These ARC's come out before the book is officially published. Sometimes the publishers make changes and corrections between the ARC and the official book, so the illustrations in your book may appear on slightly different pages. Don't worry, they'll be within a page or two of the numbers I mentioned)

This book earns the Iron Guy Seal as One Terrific Book!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Yet MORE Responses to the Great Harry Potter Controversy!

Yes, everyone, the Great Harry Potter Controversy continues to draw comments from excited readers! First one to speak up is OG, who is obviously a super-cool librarian like the Iron Guy:

I'm definitely a Harry Potter fan and have read the books a few times. There's a comfort found in them that is rare in a lot of books. Percy Jackson is great, but it never quite reaches that comfort level that Harry Potter does. When I read Harry Potter, I feel like I'm exploring a world that I would like to visit. When I read Percy Jackson, I just feel like it's an exciting story, but I never fell in love with it. Yet, as a children's librarian, when it comes to recommending books to boys, I do find myself steering them more to Percy than Harry. But I think that's only because I don't feel like I have to steer anyone to Harry Potter, people know about it and always will.

As far as my real go to books for boys, however, Percy Jackson is one, but I also like the Alex Rider series, Artemis Fowl, and Cirque Du Freak, all of which are huge hits with boys. Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan is another one I've had a lot of luck with. It's a high charging steam-punk adventure that has Percy Jackson licked any day, in my humble opinion. And has anyone else read Ship Breaker, by Paolo Bacigalupi? It's for older readers, sure, but I think it might be a great one for high school age boys.

Thanks. OG! We really appreciate this, especially the good stuff for boys. I have not read Ship Breaker, though our brother bloggers at SMS Guys Read read it and liked it.

Then we have Domo, who accidentally misspelled the name as Doom. (Good name for a comic book villain--has anyone ever used it?)

SORRY MISPRINT it's Domo. Anyways, I remeber the first time I opened HP and The Sorcerer's Stone. I really got sucked into the magical atmosphere and couldn't wait to read the second. A few years later I read the Lightning Thief and enjoyed them about the same. I mean no offense Riordan fans but Riordan is sometimes a little sloppy in his writing. For example: Percy said "Hi"then he puts Annabeth said "hi" there's no real conversation. I remain neutral.

Thanks, Domo! Neutral is cool. NO one said you couldn't like both Percy and Harry.

OK, everyone, I might come back next time with more about good reads, but if anyone else has a burning opinion to express, feel free to hit that Comments section underneath this post!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Even MORE People Respond to the Great Harry Potter Controversy!

Wow--what's a hornet's nest of controversy I've stirred up! (That's an appropriate phrase because Lord Cornwallis once called Charlotte "a hornet's nest of rebellion") I've recieved not one, not two, but FIVE responses since yesterday! It probably helped that Elizabeth Bird, one of the best book bloggers around, mentioned the Great Harry Potter Controversy in a post yesterday. (look about two-thirds the way down the post to find it) These are some widely-differing ideas, so I'm going to post them all at once:


I like the Harry Potter books a lot. They're wonderful, enthralling, complex books that are rich with detail and feature real characters with their own personalities, flaws and all. As Stephen King recently said, "Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity." What a wonderful message for a book series!

I've not yet read the Riordian books, but I'm quite willing to read and enjoy them as well. Other books I like include the Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix, the Earthsea Cycle by Urusla K LeGuin, the Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander, the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis, and His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman. All these series are quite different from one another, yet all enthrall me just as much on re-reads as they did the first time. I like them all for unique reasons. That's the great thing about books - it's possible to like more than one thing at the same time without having to tout one as better than the other. There's not much room in literary tastes for right and wrong. You aren't wrong for disliking Harry Potter, just as you aren't right about it. It's all a matter of personal taste.

It's okay to not like things! Just don't be a jerk about it. :)


I love them both. LOVE. I also LOVE Fablehaven and Artemis Fowl. There is room in my heart for all of them! I was as excited for each new book in each of these series. I just love to find something that hooks me and keeps me there for a bit. And I love that these series all have the ability to hook young readers and keep them reading!


While I also enjoyed the Percy Jackson series, Rowling's writing, especially in the first two books, is far superior t
o Riordan's. The story is tighter, funnier and better researched. There are layers upon layers to Rowling's Harry Potter and her dialog is, in my opinion, better. Does it really matter, though. Kids are reading!


I think people who like old school fantasy of the witches-and-wizards variety are more likely to get into Harry Potter, while action/adventure fans are more happy with series like Percy Jackson. I like them both! But for those who are wondering about the particular appeal of HP, it's creative details such as quidditch, the Marauder's Map, and Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans that grab me. Not to mention Hagrid on a flying motorcycle or Hagrid with his dear little pets.

Thanks, everyone! You all brought some good points. (and I hope I haven't been a jerk, Anonymous) Maybe our latest contributor said it best, though:

Doom said...

Boys, boys settle down. Riordan and Rowling are both great authors there is no need to take sides. You can both like both the same. everybody has their own opinions. no need to fight. Riordan has a bunch of creative ideas and thoughts, Rowling has created a series that has millions of potter fans worldwide. Domo remains neutral.

Well, it's hard to settle down when such a fierce debate is on. (BTW, is your name Doom or Domo?) I would agree that Rowling and Riordan are both great authors but I will STILL say that I'd trade a chapter of a Riordan for a whole HP book. Anyway, this is what GUYS do--we fight it out and then become best friends! So we can all disagree or agree and still be friends. And part of the fun of reading is arguing over favorite books and authors. So let's keep it up! Where do YOU stand on the Great Harry Potter Controversy?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Beat--I mean, the Debate Goes On!

Yes, indeed, the Great Harry Potter Controversy is heating up! We've had several people write in over the last few days. The first was our good friend Ms. Yingling, a grownup librarian who runs a mean blog. (go over to the Links section on the left-hand side of the page to check out her blog)

I'm not a fan of HP. Are they fine books? Yes. Did I read them all when they first came out? Yes. Will I ever reread them? No. Riordan's stuff is much more interesting and amusing to me. My daughter, however, is offended by anyone who doesn't think HP is brilliant. I liked Order of the Phoenix the best, but still it's not something I would go back to.

Good to hear another librarian agree with ME!! But then, two other reader guys sent very different views:

nboy said...

yeah i like percy jackson better than harry

I LOVE HARRY POTTER! i don`t like percy jackson at all

Oh, man, how could these guys be any more opposed? Wow, what a controversy I've stirred up! What about YOU?? Which side of the Hogwarts fence do YOU sit on? Or the Camp Half-Blood fence? Or the Alypium fence? (a sly reference for all you Erec Rex fans) Come on, let's hear more on the Great Harry Potter Controversy!