Friday, August 30, 2013

Cheesie Mack is Not a Genius or Anything

Cheesie Mack is Not a Genuis or Anything
by Steve Cotler
Random House, 2011
2014 Bluestem Nominee
Audience:  Grades 3 to 5
ISBN:  9780375864377
Publication Date:  March 22, 2011

Cheesie Mack is an unusual fifth grade boy that loves fun facts and lists.  He is looking forward to hanging out with his best friend, Georgie, at camp, but then some bad news makes that plan fall apart.  But, while cleaning out his basement, Georgie discovers an old necklace and penny, which might be valuable.  Cheesie insists that they do the right thing and try to find the owner, but that leads them to the Haunted Toad, an old, green, creepy looking house.  But before they can give back the penny, they learn that it is extremely valuable, so what will they do now-give it back because it's the right thing to do or sell it and go to summer camp?  Cheesie is a character with heart and humor and readers will enjoy all of his lists and jokes and extras on his website.  

Even though the whole plot wraps up with a morally satisfying ending, it's a funny book that most readers will enjoy for the pure mystery and humor of it.  Plus there are many plot points that readers will appreciate, from the point system that he has going with his sister to his loyalty to his best friend.  I also like his approach to feeding his dog and wonder if I should try something similar.

This book is exceptional it that it's about ordinary life-not demigods, not clue-hunters, not spies, or warriors, or any of that.  Plus, the website will give readers another way to connect to the book and to the action.

I like this as a Bluestem.  It has a heart of gold, but plenty of spunk.  I don't think that it will be difficult getting readers involved and it's quite accessible.  I feel like I am saying this about most of the Bluestems that I'm reading, but I hope this one gets a top-ten finish.

Give this to readers that like humor, but need a little more substance.

Happy Reading!

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