Middle School Monday – Superheroes Don’t Eat Veggie Burgers by Gretchen Kelley
I was more than pleasantly surprised by this story of new sixth grader, Charlie Burger. What could have been a light and fluffy story of one boy vanquishing the bully at school is actually an engaging, detailed story with many layers.
Charlie is doing his best to fly under the radar now that he’s in middle school. With an older sister who is student body president and a cheerleader, and a younger sister who is brilliant, gifted, and beyond annoying, Charlie is just trying to make his way in middle school without getting creamed by school bully Boomer Bodbreath. Charlie’s science teacher has different ideas.
In his favorite class, Charlie is excited to delve into the world of science. When his teacher, Mr. Perdzock, hands out journals to each student and asks them to write stories, he is perplexed. When Charlie’s stories about superhero Dude Explodius, Ruler of Everything, begin to come true, Charlie is even more confused. Mr. P. and Charlie’s grandmother, “Pickles,” provide some insight, claiming that Charlie may be a ‘bully buster’ who is able to change events with his stories. But that’s just the backdrop to the story.
What Kelley has created is an incredibly engaging story of a boy’s experiences entering middle school and dealing with all of the complexities within. Her characters are multifaceted (although it takes Charlie some time to realize it for some of them.) Charlie’s relationships with his friends, family, and even the school bully are detailed and well described. Charlie deals with the ethical implications of his ‘bully busting’ abilities in realistic ways. I think my favorite part, though, is the evolution of Charlie’s relationship with the Boomer.
I would highly recommend this book for collections serving fourth through seventh grade students. Give it to those who like Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and are ready to move on. I can’t wait to add it to our collection.
Filed under: Middle School Monday
About Robin Willis
After working in middle school libraries for over 20 years, Robin Willis now works in a public library system in Maryland.
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