Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Dodger and Me


Sonnenblick, Jordan. 2008. Dodger and Me.

Dodger and Me is a gem of a book and the beginning of a new series by Jordan Sonnenblick. The book stars Willie Ryan and his mostly-always best friend, Dodger. Here's how the flap reads, "What would you do if your best friend was: 1) imaginary, 2) an oversize blue chimp in surfer shorts (Potentially embarrassiiing, but, hey, no one else can see him, right?, 3) Proposing a plan to help you improve your life, 4) Did we say imaginary?, 5) Driving you crazy?!?!" And the back reads, "Okay, I was unpopular. But was I so amazingly unpopular that I needed a magical blue chimp for a best friend? Quite possibly."

Here's how the book itself begins, "Look, if I'm going to tell you everything that happened between me and Dodger, you have to promise you won't tell. And you won't laugh. And you won't mention any of this to dumb old Lizzie from England. I have a weird feeling she wouldn't appreciate it. Not that I care what she thinks. Anyway, I guess I'll have to trust you on this, right? Plus, I'm busting to tell somebody about it. So here goes."

Willie Ryan is a baseball loving kid. Of course it's a slight problem that baseball doesn't quite love him as much as he loves it. He's not all that great a player. He wants to be, no doubt about it, he wants it more than anything. But he has a tendency to goof up when he's up to bat. And this is how we first meet him. And how Willie first meets Dodger.

After losing the game, Willie is off on his own. Ignoring his mom's warnings, he is daring enough to take a shortcut through the woods. While there, he picks up a piece of litter. Not something you'd think was life-changing, right? But this piece of trash isn't ordinary. For out springs Dodger--the blue chimp that isn't quite a genie, but passes for one in an emergency. And the powers that be have deemed Willie an emergency. His friendless condition that is. That and the fact that his mom is the most overprotective mom on the planet--or so Willie thinks.

Once Dodger makes his appearance, there is no doubt about it...Willie's life will change. But will it be for better or for worse?

The book is enjoyable. And it's funny. It's the right blend of what a book is supposed to be.
© Becky Laney of Young Readers

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