Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Magic Pickle by Scott Morse

A little girl named JoJo has a magic pickle under her bedroom floor and it has super powers. It has been preserved their for over 50 years in a pickle jar and has come out of hybernation to find it's enemies- Phantom Carrot and Chili Chili Bang Bang. JoJo tries to look around the lab underneath her room to figure out where the pickle came from and before she knows it, it is time for school and she is at the bus stop in her pajamas. She gets teased at the bus stop by a girl named LuLu who is characterized as a girl who has rich parents, cheats on tests, wears make-up, and has a cute haircut and it is someone that JoJo and her friend do not like. JoJo tells this girl that she is secure in her originality and LuLu comes back with a comment about being normal. In the end, JoJo starts a food fight in the cafeteria against LuLu and a "popular" boy talks to her and she is happy.

First, I think this book is great because it has a lot of puns throughout the entire story that really add to the humor. However, there were a lot of things that bothered me about this particular story. When the main character is describing LuLu it is clear that there are definite stereotypes being used. LuLu has "rich parents", "wears make-up", and has a "cute haircut." To add to this, she is picking on JoJo for what she is wearing...her pajamas. I thought this was really interesting because this book just puts the stereotypes right out in the open for the reader, there is no digging involved. At one point in the conversation between the girls LuLu says she is "normal." As a teacher it is very important to realize that there are many students who could fit themselves into this situation and I don't want to promote these ideas. I did like that JoJo said she was "secure in her originality," I think that is a great way to help children start to see that it is ok to be different and there is nothing wrong with it. However, I didn't like that the book ended with JoJo getting to talk to a "popular" boy and finally feeling like she had won against LuLu. I think that this idea is showing students that the goal is to be popular and that if you are popular you'll be happy and you'll be like everyone else.

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