105 Ways to Give a Book

Poetry Friday: Worse Than Meatloaf

Today I’m giving you a poem that made me laugh out loud from an excellent, funny book, Middle School is Worse Than Meatloaf, by Jennifer Holm.
I think you should get a badge
for not smacking
your bratty little brother
when he eats the charms
off your bracelet because
he thinks it will give
him super powers.
I think you should get a badge
for taking the blame
about shaving the cat
when it was
your weird older brother who did it.
I think you should get a badge
for not crying when
your new stepfather
forgets to pick you up
after school
and Mary Catherine Kelly
gets the part
of the Sugarplum Fairy.
I think you should get a badge
for all these things,
but the Girl Scouts
don’t agree with me.
Man, those last lines crack me up. Really the whole book is funny and interesting and so very different. The subtitle is A Year Told Through Stuff, and that phrase explains it perfectly. The book covers a difficult year for Ginny as she starts middle school, gains a stepdad, loses a friend, makes a friend, changes her look, deals with brothers and endures disappointment. But the whole book is told through... well, stuff. Notes, an ad, a school schedule, a bank statement, poems, essays, flyers, horoscopes, receipts, and on and on. It’s brilliant storytelling and a fresh, new way to convey events. Great example: On one page we see an article on five ways to look pretty that includes coloring your hair. On the same page is the box of a hair coloring product and a receipt from a drugstore. Now, turn the page, and we have a receipt from a hair salon for “hair color treatment (color reversal from red to blond)” along with “haircut and style (to remove burned ends).” And if that weren’t enough humor for you, then the next page has a change to Ginny’s Big To Do List with “Look good in the school photo for once!!!” crossed out, and “Why bother!!! (maybe next year)” now noted.

I loved this innovative approach to charting a year, and props go out to Elicia Castaldi for the pictures. My sixth grade daughter (not middle school here, but still) really enjoyed the book too. I gave it to her and she read it straight through, right then, as opposed to her usual preteen way of half-heartedly taking the book from me with an implied eye-roll, tossing it beside her bed, and ignoring it for two weeks. So, that’s gotta mean something, right?


Kelly said...

6th grade IS middle school, even if they're not at the building yet.

Book sounds awesome. Thanks for the poem :)

tanita✿davis said...

The Girl Scouts -- and the Pathfinders, which was our girl/boy version of said same -- didn't agree with a LOT of things for which I thought I ought to have a badge...

MotherReader said...

Now be careful, you are talking to a Girl Scout leader here.

Of course, that's why the end kinda cracked me up.

John Mutford said...

That poem has such a rich voice. Thanks for sharing.

Stacey Shubitz said...

Very cute.

Have you submitted for the pic bk carnival over at my blog yet?

Dewey said...

I think you should get a badge for all those things, too! The Girl Scouts gave me a badge for IRONING, and what use is that? Losing out on the sugar plum fairy gracefully, now that's a skill.

Anonymous said...

I meant to pick that book up yesterday, but didn't make it to the store. I'll get it today, though, for sure — it's made of awesome. (Like the page where she's clipped a magazine article that suggests a bubble bath and new haircolor, and the following page with its receipts to repair lots of damage caused by both.)