Yes, indeed, yours truly, Iron Guy Carl, is calling a time out from the March Madness of Reading Contest to tell you about a couple of very cool books! One is short and you can read it quickly; the other is longer but told a great story that wouldn't let me go.
The first one caught my eye and I thought is was perfect to read right after St. Patrick's Day and in the middle of the big basketball tournament. It's Leprechauns Don't Play Basketball by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones. It's book # 4 in The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids series, which are a whole lot of fun. As the book covers say, "There are some pretty weird grown-ups living in Bailey City" and most of the teach at Bailey School! Some of them may or may not be supernatural. There's Miss Jeepers, for instance, who has pale skin and a strange Romanian accent. Could she really be a vampire?? Well, Eddie and his friends have gotten used to her but they aren't prepared for Coach O'Grady, a short little man with a big smile and an Irish accent who comes to teach Irish dancing to the kids. Could he really be a leprechaun?? And why does he carry that bag of stones on his belt? And why do strange things happen when he pulls out a stone? And why is Miss Jeepers so upset that he's there? You won't know if you don't check this out! But you will have a lot of fun reading it because there's humor and mysterious goings-on. And it's short. I call it a Good Quick Read and you younger reader guys, maybe around third grade, would really like it. (and I bet even the older ones would too)
The second book would be great for older reader guys, maybe sixth grade or up, though I bet some of you fifth-graders would like it too. It's Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound by Andrea Davis Pinkney.
Before I talk about the book, let me stop for a moment and savor that word. Motown. Short for Motor City. (which was Detroit) The place were some of the best music ever recorded in America came from. Songs that still make you get up and move. Some that are still relevant. Songs by Jackie Wilson. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. The Marvelletes. You guys never heard of them? What about Marvin Gaye? Diana Ross and the Supremes? Stevie Wonder? The Jackson Five? Ah, I may have got some of you now. This terrific book tells the story of the place all that great music came from and the man who started it all and kept it going through good times and some turbulent years.
That man was Berry Gordy (yes, spelled Berry, not Barry), a man working at the Ford Motor Company in Detriot, Michigan back in the late '50's who had a dream of producing hit records and making unknowns into stars. And how he succeeded after borrowing money from his family and making only $3.00 from his first record. He had hit after hit coming out of the Motown studio (which was actually a house in Detroit) until he had built a golden music empire on catchy pop tunes. But then the Civil Rights era came and times were rough. Could Motown adapt and survive? The answer is wonderful but, as I said, you won't know if you don't read this book! And you'll be glad that you did. I enjoyed this book a lot because it told an inspiring story and I learned a lot too--in fact, I learned a lot of things I never knew and I grew up in those days!
Part of what makes this book so great is the narration. It's told by someone called The Groove. It's like listening to an old, hip fun and wise relative talking about an important road trip from long ago. It's a very refreshing change from most books and you will like it!
All right, before, the Iron Guy calls a time in, let me post a video from The Temptations, one of the biggest Motown groups, singing "Can't Get Next to You." Forget the 1970 fashions or the choreography which we thought was cool but may look silly now--listen to that relentlessly driving beat, the rhythm section that simmers like a pot of chili, the snarl in those voices, the sheer liveliness and exuberance of that music. Just try, I repeat, just try not to get excited when you hear this! Enjoy and here's the TIME IN!! Send us those reviews! And if you have any questions about the contest, click here.