Monday, January 23, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays: The Name of this Book is Secret

Shannon Whitney Messenger decided to give middle grade books some well deserved attention. This week I've decided to play along!


The Name of this Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch

What a fun story! When the book orders come in to our classroom, I always do a quick introduction to each book that I've bought. Then I choose random names and they get to select the book they want from the pile of new books. Talk about excitement!

When I introduced this book, I read aloud the first 2 pages - the warning. The kids LOVED it. The kid who got to read it first was ecstatic! And he soon had kids clamouring to be the next one to read it.

The book is a fun-filled mystery and an adventure, with a touch of fantasy thrown in. The 2 main characters are so much fun. Cassandra - whose packback is filled with survival gear and who is ALWAYS ready for a disaster of any kind. Max Earnest who never stops talking and who tells joke after joke after joke. Too bad none of them are funny. The two reluctantly team up to solve a mystery and figure out if there's been a murder. All of it is centered around a mysterious box called The Symphony of Smells which once belonged to a dead magician.

There is a narrator to the story - he's the one who delivers the warning NOT to read the book - and his voice is fantastic. I'm not always a fan of narrators in stories, but this one most definitely works.

Do you like narrators in your stories?

42 comments:

  1. I have this in my classroom library and students are always reaching for it.

    I don't mind narrators. Only sometimes do I feel they get in the way of the story and characters.

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  2. This one sounds like something my daughter would like to listen to.

    I'm not a huge fan of narrators, but sometimes they're done really well, like The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It wouldn't have been the same book without Death narrating.

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  3. Interesting subject, No I don't like narrators in a story. But many do I suppose.

    Yvonne.

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  4. Narration - if kept to minimun, and also depends on who is narrating- works for me.

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  5. I love that the kids are totally loving this book and what a way to get them all interested - by having a WARNING at the beginning of the story!! Love it!! Yay for the kids!!!

    Take care
    x

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  6. Medeia - it is a fun one! I feel the same about narrators - and this one is terrific! :)

    Stephanie - I think she would enjoy it - it's a fun story!

    Yvonne - I can't think of too many off hand, but this author pulls it off nicely! :)

    Nas - I agree - as long as the narrator enhances the story, I'm in!

    Old Kitty - exactly! The warning is so much fun - draws everyone right into the tale!

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  7. I'm extremely curious about the narrators, so I will be checking this book out. Thanks for the recommendation.

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  8. Ooh, this sounds like a book I'd love! I might know a kid or two who would like it as well. Thanks for the recommendation!

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  9. We had this out from the library just after we made our big move a few months ago, so sadly Dylan and I only got to read the first chapter. Which he loved! You've just reminded me to borrow it from the library again so we can finish it!

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  10. Oh wow, this sounds like a fabulous book. I don't mind narraotrs when they have a great voice. The Princess Bride is one such example of a great narrator.

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  11. akossket - I think you'll really enjoy it. The narrator is a true presence throughout the book!

    Shelley - you're very welcome! I bet you'll all have fun with the book!

    Belle - I bet you & Dylan will enjoy it. It's a fun read! :)

    Lynda - yes, it is! This narrator is in the same vein - lots of fun and sarcasm :)

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  12. It's so great that you introduced them to a book they actually ARGUED over. Who knew there were still kids who would fight over a book as much as a Wii controller? :)

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  13. I'm so intrigued by the symphony of smells. Sounds awesome!

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  14. Emma - you'd be surprised! When book orders come in, there's a huge burst of excitement over who gets to start each book!

    Catherine - the symphony of smells is a great concept! Very creative writing :)

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  15. I used to looooove new books when I was a kid. We'd read all those Nancy Drews that were new in the library. The old ones? Where do they even keep those?! ;)

    And what a great way to get the kids excited about books. Love it!

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  16. I loved this book, and the sequel to it. :) Never did get around to reading the third book in the series, though . . .

    I really enjoy narrators, especially if they're humorous, as they are in this one.

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  17. Jean - I loved (LOVED) the Nancy Drew & Hardy Boys series! I devoured them all in no time at all - great memories!

    Golden Eagle - I haven't read book 2 yet, but it's definitely on my TBR list! :) This narrator is so well done!

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  18. I'm not a huge fan of narration, but sometimes it works.

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  19. Ciara - it's a case by case thing for me - and in this case, it works!! A very fun narrator :)

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  20. Never used a narrator that I can recall. I used to like the technique when I was a kid.

    The play on artists' names for the author and Max Earnest is kind of funny and obscure. Do you tell the students about the artists Heironymus Bosch and Max Ernst to let them in on the joke?


    Lee
    About Making Video Memoirs
    Wrote By Rote

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  21. Lee - you are a font of information! I didn't know about those artists. I've just looked them up to see - very, very cool! Another layer of humour and intelligence - love it!! :)

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  22. This sounds so cute! I love finding fun middle grade for my son. I am trying my hand at writing some, too.

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  23. Alexia - MG is fun! I love the humour and the joy and the intelligence in good MG books! I bet you'll do a great job! :)

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  24. I finally bowed to student pressure and got this one. The narrator didn't bother me, but it had that condescending Lemony Snicket-type tone that I found somehow grating.

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  25. Ms Yingling - that's interesting. Most of my kids have enjoyed it. I thought the voice was fun - but I can see your point. And that's why we have so many books - something for everyone!

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  26. Oooh sounds like my kind of book :-)))

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  27. Sounds fabulous. Definitely one for my middle son to read. And I personally don't care one way or another about narrators, as long as the novel is well-written and enjoyable.

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  28. Anything goes if it's well done! That what I say. It sounds so much fun!

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  29. Agnes - it's a lot of fun! Many of my students have really enjoyed it :)

    Cat - that's pretty much how I feel. A well-written story is what I want most! :)

    Lisa - agreed! I like when authors push the style or traditional rules - as long as they do it well!

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  30. I sometimes like narrators in stories. It was fun it A Series of Unfortunate Events. My son loved this book.

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  31. Theresa - the kids in my class really like it too. The hook at the beginning really draws them in. Fun story :)

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  32. I did enjoy this story quite a whole lot. And I do like having a narrator, if it's conducive for the tale that's being told. If the narrator has a purpose for being there, yes, yes, yes. If not, defenestration is in order.

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  33. This sounds like something my daughter would love. Now, to secretly borrow it from the library and place it in a location where I know she'll find it, without breathing a word about wanting her to read it, because if she knows I want her to read it, she definitely won't. Yep, we're in that stage. *sigh*

    Thanks for the recommendation, Jemi! :)

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  34. Naomi - exactly! If the narrator adds to the story, then I'm all for him/her. If it's distraction, then it's not for me!

    Amy - THAT stage is such fun. Now, where did that sarcasm font go??? Good luck!

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  35. Sounds fun! :)

    I think the device, if done well and needed to properly tell the story, can be fun. (The Book Thief is a perfect example)

    Have a lovely weekend!
    Hugs,
    Lola

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  36. In MG, I like narrators, like in Lemony Snicket. Also, what a fantastic faux author name!

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  37. I'm slightly past my teens but you make me want to read the book!

    Helen Ginger

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  38. Lola - oooh! The Book Thief is an excellent example! Hadn't thought of that one :)

    Lydia - it really is a great author name - so creative! I think MG kids like narrators too :)

    Helen - me too! Those teen years are long gone, and I really enjoyed it :)

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  39. Oh, this sounds fantastic. I love narrators in my stories -- a lot of my middle grade is written that way. I think the direct anrration is something you can really get away with in stories for that age level, especially if the narrator is him/herself a strong character.

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  40. Amie - it really is a fun story! I like when the narrator has tons of voice and carries the story along on his/her shoulders! :)

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  41. I love a good, obtrusive narrator, if it's done right...if not, I lose interest kind of fast.

    Shelley

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  42. Shelley - me too. And this narrator is a lot of fun! :)

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