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Lawn Boy & Sally: A Reader Review

By Jackie Burrell
Monday, July 5th, 2010 at 12:39 pm in Books.

Lawn Boy Returns The avalanche of just-published books keeps overwhelming my desk! So I enlisted the help of regular reader Noreen and her kids, who reviewed two books – a chapter book for the tween set, and a picture book for little ones. There’s nothing like a book review by a regular reader to cut through the hyperbolic hype! And cut through, they did. Suffice it to say, Noreen does not mince words.

So here’s the scoop on Stephen Huneck’s picture book, “Sally’s Great Balloon Adventure,” and Gary Paulsen’s “Lawn Boy Returns,” the sequel to his very popular “Lawn Boy.”

To recap, the original “Lawn Boy” told the tale of a 12-year-old Minnesota boy whose lawn mowing efforts promptly earn him a cool half mil, thanks to day trading, undocumented workers, and a coffin company investment. “Lawn Boy Returns” picks up six weeks later, when the intrepid lad’s foray into prizefighting and gambling gets complicated by the mob. It’s the kind of wild, zany book that’s Paulsen’s hallmark, but it was not, to put it mildly, Noreen’s family’s cup of tea.

“I did not like the ‘Lawn Boy Returns,'” she writes, “but as I am not a pre-tween boy, that might be why. I passed it on to an older brother of my daughter’s friend to read. His mom said that he started the book more than once but never really read it – (and) I have given up hope he will ever read it.”

That’s a thumbs down from two different families, but if you’ve read it and loved it, click “comments” and dish, because we want to hear why.

Sally's Great Balloon Adventure “Sally” fared considerably better: “My girls have enjoyed this book and have read it a few times,” says Noreen. “The story is simple and sweet. The pictures were created by wood blocks and my girls enjoyed discussing how such pictures are made. After reading the book the first time, my girls made some pictures using stamps, not exactly the same but they enjoyed it. My oldest daughter reads the books to her younger sister whenever she asks, which is every few weeks. The story is about a dog who accidentally goes up in a hot air balloon by herself – and some yummy smelling fried chicken in the picnic basket. A nice story which is equally nice for boys or girls.”

OK, folks, what are you reading? Good? Bad? Click “comments” and dish.

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