Saturday, August 2, 2008

Minn and Jake

Minn and Jake

Wong, Janet S. 2003. (Paperback 2008). Minn and Jake.

"The story of losing--and finding--a true best friend."

Minn and Jake is a verse novel with tween protagonists. (Minn and Jake are fifth graders.) When the novel opens, Minn is having a rough time. She's feeling "extra lizardy and alone." She feels betrayed, in a way, by her former "true best friend" Sabina. Our first poem tells us,

Minn is feeling very empty,
and very tall,
and very odd,
and very pigtailed,
and very lizardy,
and very much alone.

But Minn soon meets Jake. Though Jake isn't the true best friend she'd been waiting for. Jake is the new kid, the transfer student. He's short and has "a spiky haircut that he never asked for that makes him look like a baby crow." Yet in a relatively short amount of time--a few days or a week--the two begin to discover a thing or two about friendship.

There were many things I enjoyed about this one. Details. It's all in the details. The quirky little things that takes this book from ordinary and quite typical to great fun. It just feels right. Jake and Minn feel like they're real kids, doing real kid things and having real kid problems.

Early on in the book when Minn is over at Jake's house, and Minn is being 'forced' to play with Soup, Jake's baby brother, there is an accident with the fish tank. This bit of a poem is right after the accident.

Jake spent a whole week
coming up with name
that fit the fish--

Plungerface: the yellow one with the big nose
who likes to suck the side of the tank.

Disposal: the garbage fish,
the minute catfish
who eats the old food and scum
at the bottom.

Ick and Uck:
the ones who always seem to have poop
trailing out their backsides.

Angelghost:
the silvery black-and-white angelfish,
so flat and skinny
there's hardly enough room
for real live guts
in her.

Flick: the black one
who likes to flick
her long flowing fins
into the other fishes' faces.

The last seven (six, now),
the little blue ones,
have easy names:
all of them
are called
the $2.99 Blue Kind,
which makes them feel like a team.


As soon as I read that, I *knew* that this was the kind of book I'd love.

1 comment:

debrennersmith said...

I ordered this from Amazon for my niece and nephew after your review. THEY LOVE it! THANKS!!!!!