A Boy We All Know and (I) Love

Adam Melon, who prefers to be called by his nickname Melonhead, is the kind of boy who keeps me in the classroom after all these years.  He’s good natured (“These are actually better than Hostess Sno-Balls,” Melonhead tells the owner of a gourmet cupcake bakery), excels at doing stuff rather than just talking about it (like inventing a removable cast that zips so kids can wear one  without having to break a bone– “Who knew that when plaster of Paris goes down the drain it hardens in the pipes?  I didn’t. Believe me.”), and is always game for a new experience (Melonhead’s mom:  “Dr. Bowers said he was in the middle of fitting a patient for false teeth when he looked up and saw a boy JUMPING over his skylight.”  Melonhead thinks, Probably a lot of people take that shortcut, and asks, “What did he look like?”).  It’s true Melonhead is also the kind of kid who inspires gray hairs to sprout out of nowhere.  But, he’s worth it.

Melonhead is narrated in Adam’s voice, which can be stream-of-consciousness at times, and perhaps a bit confusing to early middle grade readers. For kids who have already mastered books of 125+ pages, however, it’s a real crack-up. The paperback version is 209 pages, double-spaced, and is illustrated.  One of my book club members told me she laughed so hard in Chapter 17, when Melonhead sees his escaped mouse climbing on a picture frame behind his mom’s head– of course Mom doesn’t know there is a pet mouse in the first place, let alone an escaped one– it took her two chapters to recover.  The plot is simple and there isn’t much conflict, but boys will likely feel a kinship with Melonhead and his misadventures.  And girls?  Well, they are much more willing to follow a “boy” story than boys are a “girl” story, and they won’t be disappointed here.  Think of Judy Blume’s Fudge series.

The character of Melonhead in fact began in Kelly’s first series for children, the Lucy Rose books, which I also highly recommend (I’ve sold a few boys on them over the years).  Adam is Lucy Rose’s nemesis when she moves to town, but she is won over when he is the only person who can help her recover the class guinea pig Lucy’s lost in her house.  Kelly has four Lucy Rose books and there is a second in the Melonhead series which is still in hardcover.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Julie Otte
    Aug 13, 2010 @ 19:52:10

    I picked this up at the library today and am hoping my 10 year old son will read it. I started reading it myself and it is really interesting with only 2 chapters down. I love the location -Washington DC, one of my favorite places to visit. I have always tried to read the books my kids are reading in school so I can talk to them about the books.


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