Melonhead

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Melonhead is the story of a young boy who is always finding trouble when looking for new adventures. The book is reviewed by Sweet on Books.

What You Need to Know:
• Melonhead is about a clever, inventive boy who enjoys life, moving quickly from one adventure (sometimes calamity) to the next. It is unusual to find a book with a male main character and no mention of sports.
• Melonhead definitely does not have a handle on right and wrong. He does a lot of things he shouldn’t and the consequences are never huge.
• See if you can keep track of all the brands mentioned – Skittles, Hostess Snow-Balls, Cap ‘n Crunch, Lucky Charms. I still can’t figure out why these kids eat so much junk!
• Washington D.C. is almost a character in itself here, as the reader learns about specific streets, parks, stores and some fun political facts.
• Although the characters are pretty young (nine-years old) they seem to have plenty of freedom and are often walking through the city on their own, even talking to strangers.
• Two of Melonhead’s closest friends are Lucy Rose and Jonique, and their relationship demonstrates how easy friendships between boys and girls can be.
• While Melonhead definitely inspires creative thinking, make sure your readers don’t try any of his “tricks” at home.

Sweet Book Summary:
This book is the first in a new series starring nine-year old Adam Melon, otherwise known as Melonhead, originally seen in Katy Kelly’s series about Lucy Rose. He is a cheerful, funny and clever boy who seems to find trouble on a daily basis. He enjoys learning, exploring and discovering but he never seems to think things through before he takes action. The story begins with Melonhead’s foot stuck in a tree, the fire department coming to his rescue and television cameras to publicize the event. That sets the tone for a string of mishaps that include setting a cast on his best friend, Sam’s unbroken arm and sneaking a snake and a mouse into his house. The chapter entitled, “Who knew this could happen? Not me?” perfectly describes the way Melonhead thinks.

When Melonhead’s teacher gives his class the assignment of finding a new way to use something already available, he’s up for the challenge. Readers may even be inspired to look at things in their own lives differently. Most of the story involves Melonhead and Sam attempting to reinvent something that will “sweep the nation” but it takes a lot of failures to find one success. Readers will enjoy hearing about all of their creative attempts to discover something new. Lots of the action takes place at school, on the streets of Washington D.C. and with their families. Readers learn about Melonhead’s parents (his dad works for a congressman and his mom seems slightly narotic), other adults in the neighborhood and a variety of classmates from school. Throughout the story, Melonhead keeps things from his parents, but in the end, he decides that being honest and responsible is the way to go.

Melonhead and his friends are quick witted, as are the parents and teachers we meet in the book, and the conversations are filled with clever banter. The use of language is important to the characters. Melonhead and his best friend Sam like to rhyme so keep an eye out for their silly phrases like, “You’re smart, fart” and “So sorry, Mata Hari!” Lucy Rose tends to define some of the more difficult words they use. Although Melonhead is longer than some books at the Reader Senior level, it still fits nicely here because of the story elements and visual layout.

Author: Katy Kelly Illustrator: Gillian Johnson Published: 2009, 224 pages
Themes: Character/Values, Community, Family Life, Friendship, Humor, and School

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