Monday, April 9, 2007

Millicent Min, Girl Genius/ Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time / So Totally Emily Ebers by Lisa Yee

These three books by Lisa Yee chronicle the same summer as seen by three children whose lives interconnect. Stanford Wong is a basketball star who just might lose his spot as the first 7th grader ever to make the A-team if he doesn't pass 6th grade English in summer school. Millicent Min is the child-prodigy who at 11 is poised to enter her senior year of high school, and who is forced to tutor "Stan-turd." Millie thinks Stanford is a hopeless stupid airhead, and Stanford hates Millie because as he thinks - it is kids like Millie who make everyone expect Chinese kids to be geniuses. Emily is a new kid in town who is having a hard time adjusting to life as a child of divorce who manages to become Millie's first best friend, and Stanford's first crush. All 3 children figure prominently in each book, but each book takes the same summer and looks at it from the perspective of each child. These books are funny and insightful, and it is almost brilliant the way they show how the same events can look so different from different perspectives. But the best thing is, they teach that lesson without being boring, or preachy, or depressing, and each book stands on its own as a self-contained novel. They cover serious issues - fear of failure, fear of not fitting in, fear of what others will think, the dissolution of your family - without being a giant drag. The kids think like kids and talk like kids, and worry about kid things, and sometimes they're really funny.

I think these 3 books are perfect for about 5th grade to 7th or 8th grade, boys or girls. Boys might resist reading "Millicent Min" or "Emily Ebers," but Stanford will certainly appeal to them. If I were a teacher trying to show point-of-view, I might teach these books, or if I didn't have time to require all 3, I'd pull out passages that describe the same event from each book to show how things can look different depending on how you see them. Fun books - worth your while - all around highly recommended.


1 comment:

Lisa Yee said...

I love this review.

Thank you.