What's the Matter with Herbie Jones?

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Putnam, 1986 - Juvenile Fiction - 111 pages
1 Review
It's not often writers can capture so perfectly the third grade mentality. . . . All the elements work here: the story is solid, the characters are well done, and the illustrations . . . hit the mark too. A winner.--Booklist, starred review.

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ISBN 0140323244 - Herbie Jones is such an average kid that Herbie books are just a little BETTER than average. Most kids can relate to him and his friends as they go through really normal, really common, almost boring things in a most un-boring way.
Herbie's got a girlfriend. Her most attractive feature is that she likes Herbie's poetry. Herbie's best friend Raymond isn't thrilled with this G Disease (Girl Disease) that his friend has caught and keeps a jealous eye on the situation. Annabelle's fondness for Herbie's poetic wit isn't enough to build a lasting relationship on, and when she starts to really act like a girlfriend, Herbie can't ditch her fast enough. He liked her for slightly less than two days and now he longs for the good old days, when Annabelle wasn't even speaking to him.
Herbie's just a hilarious, normal boy, whose romantic thoughts are along the lines of "...still thinking about Annabelle's eyes. He decided they reminded him of chocolate malt balls." As a lifelong Luke Spencer fan, I found it funny that Herbie's sister, Olivia, was watching General Infirmary. On the "lessons" side, it was nice that, although the boys attempted to cheat for the spelling bee, they confessed before it started.
I really like this book and think most kids, particularly boys, will enjoy it. However. There's always those parents whose concerns are different. If you are among the parents who might be bothered by the fact that Ray thinks he would get spanked if his mom found out that he cheated, skip this book. If several innocent butt-jokes, while looking up "haunches" in the dictionary, might bother you, skip this book. If you might get freaked out by the (intentional) mis-spelling of words in Herbie's handwritten poetry (spigetti, reseaver, etc), skip this book. If you're slightly less uptight and freaked out and just want your child to know the joys of reading, pick up a copy - and read it while your kid's sleeping!
- AnnaLovesBooks


The Ghost of Annabelle
Poems and the Foolproof Plan
The Dance Contest

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About the author (1986)

Suzy Kline, the author of nineteen previous Horrible Harry books and four books about Song Lee, lives in Willington Connecticut with her husband, Rufus. Suzy and Rufus have been married for thirty-eight years. They met in the state where they both grew up: California. Suzy grew up in Berkeley and Rufus in Sacramento. Suzy graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in European history. She met Rufus at the Davis campus while attending that campus for a year. They got married and lived in different places, including Canada, before settling into Connecticut, the state they now call home.

Suzy taught in 5th and 6th grades at Shannon Elementary School in Richmond, California for 3 years, and 2nd and 3rd grades at Southwest Elementary School in Torrington, Connecticut for 24 years before retiring this past June. She now enjoys writing full-time and visiting schools and libraries. The couple share their home with two cats, Teeter and Hoag. They have two daughters, Jennifer and Emily, and four grandchildren: Jake, Kenna, Gabby and Saylor. A fifth grandchild is due in September, 2006. Suzy's mother just turned 96. She dedicated her most recent book, Horrible Harry Takes the Cake to her.

Suzy and Rufus enjoy attending UConn football and basketball games, and Suzy uses the UConn library as a reference for her writing facts.

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