What's the Matter with Herbie Jones?
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!
The Ghost of Annabelle
Poems and the Foolproof Plan
The Dance Contest
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