Tag Archives: Jerry Spinelli

Review: Hokey Pokey

Title: Hokey Pokey

Author: Jerry Spinelli

Publisher: Random House

Release Date: January 8, 2013

Pages: 261 (Paperback)

Genre: fiction, MG

Audience: 10+

Source: ARC, NCTE

Summary from Goodreads:

“Welcome to Hokey Pokey. A place and a time, when childhood is at its best: games to play, bikes to ride, experiences to be had. There are no adults in Hokey Pokey, just kids, and the laws governing Hokey Pokey are simple and finite. But when one of the biggest kids, Jack, has his beloved bike stolen—and by a girl, no less—his entire world, and the world of Hokey Pokey, turns to chaos. Without his bike, Jack feels like everything has started to go wrong. He feels different, not like himself, and he knows something is about to change. And even more troubling he alone hears a faint train whistle. But that’s impossible: every kid knows there no trains in Hokey Pokey, only tracks.

Master storyteller Jerry Spinelli has written a dizzingly inventive fable of growing up and letting go, of leaving childhood and its imagination play behind for the more dazzling adventures of adolescence, and of learning to accept not only the sunny part of day, but the unwelcome arrival of night, as well.”

What I liked:

The description of Hokey Pokey was brilliant. The tattoos and roaming bikes made me chuckle. I liked the optimistic view point of a children’s world rather than the pessimistic view point most texts offer (such as Lord of the Flies). The self-sufficiency of the Kids did bring me back to my childhood (cartoons, riding bikes, etc). Spinilli’s imagery made Hokey Pokey come alive.

What I didn’t like:

Spinelli didn’t make me care about the characters before the action started taking place. Jack seemed more like a bully than leader which made it difficult to to feel empathy for him. I also didn’t like the ending. I’m not going to give anything away, but it just didn’t work for me.

Overall Impression: When I saw that Jerry Spinelli put out another book I couldn’t wait to devour it just like I did with StarGirl and Milkweed. However, I was highly disappointed. While I finished the book in one sitting (on the flight back from NCTE in Las Vegas), I couldn’t really appreciate it. The concept of the book was beautiful, a never-never land of sorts but the execution wasn’t for me.  The overall disappointing factor was the ending.

Recommendation: I would recommend this book to a much younger audience with some reservations.

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It’s Monday! Here’s What I’m Reading…

It’s Monday! What are you Reading?: From Picture Books to YA is a meme hosted by TeachMentorTexts . It’s a spin off from Sheila at Book Journeys It’s Monday! What are you Reading? with a focus on Children’s books and YA (pretty obvious).

Here’s what I read this past week:

Before leaving for NCTE I finished:

Looking for Alaska by John Green (Goodreads)

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter’s whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the “Great Perhaps” (François Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.After. Nothing is ever the same.

During break I read:

2. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green (Goodreads)

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan’s collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won both them legions of faithful fans.

3. Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli (Goodreads)

Welcome to Hokey Pokey. A place and a time, when childhood is at its best: games to play, bikes to ride, experiences to be had. There are no adults in Hokey Pokey, just kids, and the laws governing Hokey Pokey are simple and finite. But when one of the biggest kids, Jack, has his beloved bike stolen—and by a girl, no less—his entire world, and the world of Hokey Pokey, turns to chaos. Without his bike, Jack feels like everything has started to go wrong. He feels different, not like himself, and he knows something is about to change. And even more troubling he alone hears a faint train whistle. But that’s impossible: every kid knows there no trains in Hokey Pokey, only tracks.

Master storyteller Jerry Spinelli has written a dizzingly inventive fable of growing up and letting go, of leaving childhood and its imagination play behind for the more dazzling adventures of adolescence, and of learning to accept not only the sunny part of day, but the unwelcome arrival of night, as well.

My reading plan for this week:

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

2. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Want to know what others are reading this week?  Read more at TeachMentorTexts.

What are YOU reading this week?

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