April 4, 2019 § 3 Comments
I’ve been feeling a teensy bit guilty that those of you not on Instagram are missing out on all the mini reviews I’ve been doing over there, particularly of middle-grade books. These books are too good to miss! So, I’ve decided to do occasional “round-up” posts to catch you up. Several of these titles are brand-spanking new; the rest are new within the past year.« Read the rest of this entry »
October 1, 2015 § 5 Comments
You know when you read something and you realize, WAIT, you mean other people’s children do that, too? You mean other mothers feel that way, too? You mean I’m not spinning alone in some upside-down bubble in this roller coaster we call parenting?
And then you think, I need to read this more often (much cheaper than therapy).
That’s the central driving force behind my willingness to oblige my children and read to them Scott McCormick and R.H. Lazzell’s graphic chapter series about the illustrious troublemaker, Mr. Pants, over and over again. As a general rule, I’ll usually do whatever it takes to avoid reading graphic novels aloud (yes, I know they can be amazing, but I find them incredibly awkward to read aloud; plus, my eight year old is so obsessed with all things comics that he’s perfectly happy to read them quietly to himself).
Don’t get me wrong: the Mr. Pants books (Ages 6-10) are fan-freaking-tastic for developing or reluctant readers to read themselves. I’m just saying that I will gladly pounce on the chance to read them aloud. Because, well, it’s like reading about our life. ONLY FUNNIER. Much, much funnier. As in, tears running down my face as my kids roll around on the floor clutching their sides. It’s possible that I’m just really, really good at this…although I have faith that you’ll rise to the challenge, too.
Mr. Pants (nickname: Slacks) is a young, orange, anthropomorphic cat, who lives in a modern apartment with twin feline sister Foot Foot (nickname: Feet) and baby feline sister Grommy (no nickname)—as well as their distinctly nondescript human mother. (In the boy to girl ratio, Mr. Pants is severely outnumbered.)
The fact that Mr. Pants is a cat is irrelevant. What you need to know is that this amped-up, prank-loving, sister-teasing, physically-comedic, competition-obsessed, explosion-sound-making character is none other than your son (oops, did I say your son? I meant my son).
Only—and here’s the icing on the cake—as much as Mr. Pants may be a Whole Lotta Trouble, he’s equal parts Big ‘ol Softie. Think Calvin and Hobbes if Calvin used more innocent language and had a baby sister he couldn’t resist. You getting this?
In the first installment, Mr. Pants: It’s Go Time!, we learn about Mr. Pants’ propensity for bribery: his disdain for back-to-school shopping (especially when he gets conned into a princess unicorn backpack) is placated only by the promise of a family game of laser tag.
The second book, Mr. Pants: Slacks, Camera, Action!, dives deeper into the laugh-out-loud sibling dynamics at hand (Mr. Pants must help host his sister’s Fancy Hat Tea Party), while also revealing Pants’ budding success (or not) as a documentary film maker.
And, now—just in time for Halloween—I’m positively giddy to introduce you to Mr. Pants: Trick or Feet!, where Mr. Pants’ dream of winning a ten-pound bag of candy in Zombie Tag in his grandparents’ town is shattered by a blizzard that strands his family overnight in an airport on Halloween. So much for Mom’s best-laid plans.
Can we talk for a moment about Mr. Pants’ mom? She ROCKS. She is my literary parenting idol. Sure, she occasionally falls asleep reading to her kids. Sure, she has been known to raise her voice at the dinner table (haven’t we all?). And, sure, she once made Halloween costumes for her children that were so embarrassing, they refused to leave the house to trick or treat (hey, crafting isn’t my thing either).
But she never fails to see the humor in a situation. And she isn’t afraid to partake in her kids’ shenanigans, especially if it means beating them at their own contests and bets. (Did I mention she also kicks butt at laser tag?)
But I digress. Because we’re supposed to be talking about Halloween—and how to save it when you’re stranded in an airport. As Mr. Pants quickly discovers, games of tag on the People Movers and races in wheelchairs only work until Airport Security catches you.
It doesn’t take long before Mr. Pants and his sisters are bemoaning (you can hear the take-no-prisoners whining, can’t you?) the fact that nothing around them looks or feels like their favorite holiday.
Never underestimate maternal resourcefulness. With a little make-up from her purse, Mom transforms her brood into something kinda sorta resembling zombies. Halloween Airport Style commences with a widespread game of Zombie Tag, joined by the other stranded passengers and airport personnel, big and small. Even the disgruntled Security Guard can’t resist.
The only catch? Mom thinks that all this talk of eating brains is a little archaic. The sisters are quick on the uptake: how about VEGAN zombies who only eat GRAINS? As in quinoa and oats and barley and amaranth (say what?).
No, you aren’t misunderstanding me.
These books are just that good. They’re just that entertaining. They’re just, well, one more day in the life of modern parenting.
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Review copy provided by Penguin. All opinions are my own. Amazon.com affiliate links are provided mainly for ease and reference–although I prefer that we all shop local when we can!