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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Adventures of Beanboy

My middle school students love books that combine text and comics/illustrations together to tell a story. Lisa Harkrader’s newest chapter book, The Adventures of Beanboy, is in that format. Seventh grader Tucker MacBean is a huge comic book fan which doesn’t make him high on the popular list at school. He and his best friend, Noah, frequently visit Caveman Comics for the latest H2O comic. Things have not been so great at home for Tucker – his father lives in another city, his mother is working during the day and taking college night classes, and he is responsible for taking care of his special needs little brother, Beecher, after school. Tucker decides the answer to his family’s burdens would be to win the H2O comic contest (the prize is a college scholarship – just what his mom needs), but he needs to attend Art Club after school to be successful. Tucker is relieved when his mother tells him that she has found someone to take care of Beecher after school. Tucker is surprised to find Sam Zawicki, a girl at his school who acts like his arch enemy, is Beecher’s new babysitter. Why is Sam always so angry with everyone? Did Sam’s brother steal from their middle school cooking class like everyone believes? When Tucker stands up for what is right, he becomes even more powerful than his favorite superhero. The comic part of the story portrays Tucker’s creative imagination and how his newly created character evolves. Another good book by Harkrader is Airball: My Life in Briefs.

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