Monday, November 27, 2017

Waylon: One Awesome Thing

Waylon! One Awesome Thing. Sara Pennypacker. Illustrated by Marla Frazee. 2016. 208 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Waylon craned his neck. "Moon at the nearest point in its orbit--check. Clouds--check. But Joe, I'm telling you--"

Premise/plot: Waylon is in fourth grade, and it's complicated. Most of the time, he's happy to just be--to be himself, to be excited about anything and everything connected to science and nature. But some of the time, well, he starts to imagine how he appears to others. "As though he was outside his body watching himself. Not extraterrestrial others. Extraterrestrials watching wouldn't bother him at all. If they were looking down from their space pods. Waylon felt sure they would grok him. Grok was a word he'd learned in a science fiction story. It meant to understand something so completely you practically merged with it. No, it wasn't extraterrestrials he worried about, it was other human kids. And when Waylon imagined other human kids watching him, he imagined them laughing--not nice laughs, but mean smirks" (22-3). In the past few weeks, his class has started dividing into teams. And he HATES that. Why do they need to divide into an "us" and "them." And which team would he want to be on if he has to be on a team. But the arrival of a not-so-new-kid, Baxter, changes the class dynamics. Is there hope for Waylon after all?

My thoughts: I loved Sara Pennypacker's Clementine series. LOVED. This fourth grade class has Clementine in it, but the narrator is Waylon. And to be honest, Waylon is more interested in science, sports, and dogs than in girls. I really enjoyed this chapter book. Some names will be familiar to readers--since so many elements of Clementine's stories focused on her school life. It didn't take many chapters for me to love Waylon for himself.

I loved the characters, the writing, the story, and the illustrations.
© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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