Monday, March 26, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The McGillicuddy Book of Personal Records

Today’s pick:  The McGillicuddy Book of Personal Records by Colleen Sydor

Red Deer Press (Fitzhenry & Whiteside), 2010

From the Publisher:
This is an extraordinary story about a 13-year-old boy named Lee who loves setting personal and odd records. He's obsessed by them in fact - from tracing the annual public marathon with his dog Santiago to bouncing a basketball in the school playground for 12 hours straight with no one around - but he's not interested in going public with them.

Along the way Lee collects famous quotes from all manner of famous people whose lives and words have encouraged him - and provided inspiration during trying times. In addition he sees himself as the director of the definitive movie about his life, focusing on the light and dark moments he experiences as he seeks a raison d'etre for his life.

Above all, he seeks to escape being ordinary, and when he's confronted with the greatest challenge of his young life - saving his pesky friend from certain death - his strength of character and purpose demonstrate that he is anything but ordinary.

My Take: 
The beginning of this quirky story is all about getting to know Lee and his developing friendship with pesky Rhonda, a girl who is three years younger than he is. Lee’s record setting attempts and his unusual hobby of collecting quotes from famous people are interesting, but make for a slow start to the story. If you hang in there, the second half picks up, especially when Lee gets into a predicament that puts his record-setting skills to the test and could mean big trouble for his now-friend Rhonda. There is an interesting writing style where Lee narrates events in his own life like a movie script, complete with stage directions. I liked the way the author used details to establish Lee's personality.

Other Info:
Colleen Sydor lives in Winnipeg and first established her writing career with the picture books Camilla Chameleon and Raising a Little Stink.

This book is nominated for the Ontario Library Association’s Forest of Reading in the Silver Birch (Fiction) category for 2012. I’ve profiled some of the other nominated books:  Crossing to Freedom, Ghosts of the TitanticNeil Flambe and the Aztec Abduction, That Boy Red, The Glory Wind, Ghost Messages, and Undergrounders.

Other books by this author include:
My Mother is a French Fry and Further Proof of My Fuzzed Up Life
Camilla Chameleon (picture book)
Timmerman Was Here
Raising a Little Stink (picture book)
Fashion Fandango (GeneratioNorah Series)
Maxwell's Metamorphosis (GeneratioNorah Series)

Looking for more MMGM? Check out these links:

  • Joanne Fritz @ My Brain on Books
  • Shannon Messenger @ Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe
  • Shannon O'Donnell @ Book Dreaming
  • Myrna Foster @ Night Writer
  • Ally Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy
  • Barbara Watson @ Novel and Nouveau
  • Deb Marshall @ Just Deb!
  • Anita Laydon Miller's Middle Grade Blog
  • Michael G-G @ Middle Grade Mafioso
  • Natalie Aguirre @ Literary Rambles
  • Ms. Yingling @ Ms. Yingling Reads
  • Jennifer Rumberger
  • Pam Torres @ So I'm Fifty
  • Mary @ Writer's Butt Does Not Apply to Me
  • The Accidental Novelist
  • G.S. Prendergast @ Angelhorn
  • Gina Carey
  • Nye Louwen - My Spirit
  • Laurisa White Reyes

    1. Thanks for sharing about this. I hadn't heard of it.

    2. Interesting title, Andrea. I've never heard of it before. Hey, I'm not on your list. :) (Fellow MMGM poster)

    3. Sounds like one my son would enjoy; I'll have him look for it! Thanks so much for the word on it.


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