Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Battle Has Been Joined!

The Battle of the Kids Books began yesterday when Judge Francisco X. Stork had to decide between Lynn Rae Perkins "As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth" and Louis Sachar's "The Cardturner".  Stork's books are more complex studies of teen boys in challenging realistic circumstances.  Knowing a little something about the judge enabled me to hazard a guess about which book he would pick even before I read either of these titles.

"As Easy as Falling off the Face of the Earth" drops a teen boy in the middle of nowhere without a cell phone!!!  OMG!  as the teens might text!  He proceeds to meet a series of very kind and quirky people; one in particular helps the lad hunt down his parents who are on their first ever romantic getaway.  The parents thought their son was at a month long camp.  And they ALL assumed their new home and dogs were in the care of the grandfather.  The book is fun and fascinating while evoking a dreamlike feel at the same time.  There are boxcars, sailboats, trucks, diners and late night meals and a trip to a tropical island as well.

"The Cardturner" is about bridge - the game - with a capital B.  17-year-old Alton is drafted into driving his blind great-uncle to duplicate bridge matches.  His blind great-uncle is very rich and Alton's parents are positively gleeful about Alton's indenture.  Alton is surprised at how quickly he gets sucked in by the complicated almost manic game of Bridge.  Well, I found this book fascinating.  I could NOT put it down.  It helps that I am a terrible bridge player myself and find the game frustrating beyond belief.  Alton's longer explanations, bracketed by whales to let the reader know they can be skipped, and his shorter summaries - for readers who wanted to skip the explanations but needed basic knowledge - were a stroke of genius.  The relationships that developed between Alton and his great-uncle and Alton and the other bridge players, including one younger teen girl-type, are well-drawn.  Good book.

My guess about what book would be chosen yesterday was right.  Can you guess?  Take a minute now.

Give up?  Stork chose (wild cheering)  "The Cardturner",  just as I knew he would.

Today was another decision which I will post in an hour or two.  I want to give you time absorb the awesomeness of yesterday's contest.

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