Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Review of Charlie Bumpers and the Squeaking Skull

Charlie Bumpers and the Squeaking Skull
by Bill Harley
Illustrated by Adam Gustavson
Expected release date: September 1, 2014
164 Pages
Middle Grade Realistic Fiction
Disclosure: Review copy provided by the publisher. 

Summary From Goodreads
This Halloween Charlie and Tommy have big plans. They hope they can get out of taking their little sisters around and go trick-or-treating in Alex's upscale neighborhood instead. There they'll get tons more candy, they'll be on their own, and afterwards they'll get to attend the sleepover at Alex's house. But when Charlie finds out that the entertainment at the party is to consist of the "Scariest Horror Movies Ever," he is struck by panic. Charlie loves candy, he loves sleepovers with his friends, but he absolutely hates horror movies. There is yet another wrinkle in Charlie's Halloween plans. He is determined to win the big prize (ten movie tickets) that will be awarded for the best costume, but when he finally comes up with a genius prize-winning idea, he runs into an unexpected obstacle

How will Charlie be able to enjoy Halloween this year?

My Thoughts
Charlie faces a common problem. How can he tell his friends that he doesn't like something that they all seem to be really excited about? When everyone wants to see a really scary movie at a friend's Halloween sleepover, Charlie is too afraid to speak up and say that he doesn't like to be scared. This could lead to some great discussions in class or at home. What should/could you do if your friends want to do something that makes you uncomfortable?
I admired Charlie's determination to make his Halloween costume despite the fact that his very busy mom can't help him. Kudos to Ms. Bromley, the art teacher for stepping up to help him. 

I like how Charlie finds out that the grass is not always greener in ritzy neighborhoods when his candy haul is less than what he gets when he trick-or-treats with his little sister. He also learns that the tough, fearless bully is not always as he seems. 

Many children ages 7-10 will enjoy this book. It has a mixture of humorous parts and parts that lend themselves to thought-provoking discussions.  

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