Holm, J. L., & Castaldi, E. (ill.) (2007). Middle school is worse than meatloaf: A year told through stuff. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers. ISBN: 9780689852817
Annotation: Going into 7th grade, Ginny Davis has plans for an awesome year. Then life gets in the way, and she realizes that plans never work out the way they’re supposed.
Reaction: This was a really cute book about a 12 year old girl navigating 7th grade. Ginny’s experiences are fairly universal, regular life stuff that seems world ending when you’re that age. She has to deal with family, friends and school during the year. This is a book to which all girls that age can relate, and it’ll let them know that they’re not alone in their experiences. Sometimes life is tough, and the littlest problems can ruin your day.
Holm and Castaldi tell Ginny’s story through notes, receipts, school assignments and flyers. They let these pieces of her life give the reader a picture of her personality and the big events through the year. Often, they don’t fully explain what happened or go into too much detail, but they give us just enough to be able to fill in the blanks ourselves. I love the idea of using these papers that are often just “trash” create a story. The images are really slick. I would have liked them to have a little more depth and texture, but I think if I had read this when I was that age, I would have loved them.
Media Used: Illustrations digitally rendered