Reviews

School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 6-8-Travis is secretive and Velveeta is into everyone's business. Their sympathetic, patient English teacher steps in, helping Travis with a learning issue and steering Velveeta towards more productive behavior. The two students become friends and learn to exercise some control over their lives. Through exceptional pacing and intonation, Daniels and Rudd fully express the yin and yang of troubled tweens on the cusp of young adulthood. The focus on personal growth makes this perfect for class discussions centering on social-emotional standards, such as this one from the Madison (WI) Metropolitan School District curriculum: MMSD SELS Health 1,3 Students will recognize that individuals have personal power to set and achieve goals. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 7-9-Travis is forced to move with his grandfather from the small Wisconsin town that is the only home he has ever known. On top of that, his pet dog has disappeared and his alcoholic grandpa insists they move immediately, leaving the dog behind. Travis has always struggled with schoolwork and has a difficult time talking to anyone. At his new middle school, he meets feisty, funky classmate Velveeta and a determined teacher who realizes that Travis has a learning disability and is much more than just a stupid "bluefish." Pat Schmatz's novel (Candlewick, 2011) is brought to life by Luke Daniels and Kate Rudd. Daniels captures Travis's sweet, shy demeanor with his deliberate speech pattern and has listeners cheering him on from the beginning. His gruff voicing of Travis's grandpa is perfect as well. Kate Rudd narrates the Velveeta passages that are in the form of letters to her dead neighbor and mentor. Rudd's sarcastic tone mixed with just the right amount of sympathy makes Velveeta a real person. Filled with believable characters, this novel will capture the hearts of middle school listeners.-Shari Fesko, Southfield Public Library, MI (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.