Friday, May 31, 2013

Review: My Homework Ate My Homework

Eleven-year-old Zaritza has a big problem. Acting is her life, and she is about to get her big break. The Laramie Traveling Children's Theater Troupe is coming to Zaritza's school, and she is determined to claim the lead role in the school's production of Calamity Jane. The problem is, in order to participate in the play at all, she needs to pass all of her subjects, and she is in serious danger of failing math. Her only hope is to take on a truly dreadful extra credit assignment: taking care of Bandito, the class ferret.

While many of her classmates would be happy with the assignment, Zaritza has never liked Bandito. She thinks he is hideous and creepy, and smells like boiled cabbage. Nevertheless, she is willing to do anything (other than her math homework, that is) to land her starring role. When Bandito escapes confinement, Zaritza discovers that her homework has eaten her homework, but this is only the first in a series of "disasters" that threatens her big chance at becoming a world-renowned actress.

Patrick Jennings has produced a funny, fast-moving, and exciting book that will appeal to a wide range of readers. Short, snappy chapters make the book good both for reluctant readers and as a classroom read-aloud. Zaritza and the other characters are well-developed and believable, and run the full gamut of human emotions as the story progresses. Every bit of the action is realistic, but that does not prevent it from being madcap and zany, at least when told from the perspective of an eleven-year-old drama queen. There are a few good moral lessons worked in, but none of them are too blatant or detract from the story.

Overall My Homework Ate My Homework is an excellent book, and highly recommended.

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