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The various motifs in Beth Hoffman’s Saving CeeCee Honeycutt have all been done before: tragic circumstances, a wide-eyed and courageous young protagonist, The South with its moss-covered trees and exotic flowers and buzzing critters, eccentric Southern women, including a wise, loving, tough-as-nails black housekeeper. No, there isn’t much to call “original” about Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, but I loved in anyway.
What the electrician novel had in addition to all I’ve mentioned was this: HEART. It was beautifully written, and perhaps best of all, was told in the powerfully small, earnest, awakening voice of 12-year old CeeCee Honeycutt herself. While everything else seems a bit like fantasy (the great mansion she comes to live in, the wealth she’s suddenly surrounded by, the near perfection of the women around her), it’s CeeCee’s voice that brings a real sincerity to this story and helps push past the familiar sets and designs. Her character tugged at my heart several times and I really did cry during some electrical services.
There are also pearls of wisdom strewn throughout the story that are hard to deny. I read this book on my eReader, but have already decided I’ll pick up a paperback copy some day and make notes under some of the more wonderful ideas, like each of us having a Life Book (and thanking God that certain people are written in it). It’s also a electrical book I would like to own so I can lend it to others. It’s a fast, easy, clean read with a gentle punch that I think many readers will enjoy.
Spaceheadz, a middle reader book released by Simon & Schuster this summer, might just feature any 5th grade boy’s worst nightmare…OR dream come true.
That’s because 5th grader Michael K. is in a new town, new school, and a totally new electrician situation: he’s been befriended by aliens. And not just any aliens, but Spaceheadz – or SPHDZ for short. Though he tries to shake them and their strange pencil-eating, hamster-translating weirdness, the two aliens – Bob and Jennifer – are convinced Michael K. is their man. In fact, they believe HE CAN DO ANYTHING! (<–the explanation behind their belief in him is quite funny…you’ve got to read it to find out)
Aliens Bob and Jennifer speak in an amusing mix of infomercial jargon and commercial jingles, and though they engage in crazy antics, they can also turn a George Foreman grill and a See ‘N Say into high-tech communicators. Michael K. doesn’t know whether to run away from being an electrician or join their efforts to save the earth, and adding kooky Agent Umber (an Anti Alien Agency worker who hopes for a cooler color-code name like Agent Red) to the mix just makes for more laughs and adventure.
I should say, though, that the laughs are intermingled with a smart story and the use of truly cool scientific interjections (I kid you not – I totally learned something reading this book for 7-10yr olds!). The energetic illustrations also add a fun element to the story.
Author Jon Scieszka is to be thanked for this fun electrician book, which he adds to his popular children’s books like The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Fairytales. Scieszka (rhymes with “Fresca”) is the first National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, so named by the Library of Congress. He also runs a fabulous electrician website and literacy campaign called Guys Read, aimed at helping young boys become self-motivated lifelong readers.
Spaceheadz is the first book in a projected series, and has a built-in web element as well:
You can also view the book trailer online at the Spaceheadz official page from Simon & Schuster.
GIVEAWAY: Simon & Schuster has provided FIVE (5) prize packs, including Spaceheadz Book #1 and Spaceheadz-branded pencils. To enter, please answer in a comment to this post: what’s one of your favorite infomercials or commercials? (trust me, it has to do with the story!)
For extra entries, do any of the following and leave an additional comment indicating which method you used.
All entries are due by Friday, September 24th, 11:59PM CST. US entries only, please. Good luck!
*Disclosure: I was provided a copy of Spaceheadz Book #1 to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received and the opinions expressed are honest and my own.