Friday, November 11, 2005

The Day Joanie Frankenhauser Became a Boy

I took this off my friend Karyn's pile at work. It was way too young for her highschool audience so I thought I would give it a go. This is a sweet book that I think tomboys in the range of 4-6th grade would enjoy.

Joanie's mom wants her to act more like a girl. Joanie doesn't understand why just because she is in 5th grade she is supposed to give up skateboarding, football and basketball. She simply can't identify with those girly girls at school. You know the ones. They giggle and talk about lipgloss all day?

Well...when the family moves from Boston to Yardville PA, Joannie gets the chance of a lifetime. The first day at her new school, a typo has the teacher introducing her as "John" instead of "Joan". Joannie doesn't correct the teacher and takes the opportunity to enter the secret world of boys.

She starts hanging out with Zane and his buddies, and soon finds herself over her head with dares to prove how macho she is. Zane wants to do crazy stuff like hang upside down from a tree over a ravine, and whip firecrackers at old man Corrolla's place. And she doesn't feel very comfortable making "boobie" jokes at Lucinda. Will she find a way to come clean...or stay a boy for as long as possible?

The writing is breezy and there are chapters written as stories about "Super Kid" that Joanie writes. I would recommend it to 4-6th graders. It's an interesting look at the gender divide without sexual overtones, and helps to show that the grass may not always be so green on the other side.

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