Saturday, June 7, 2014

How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied by Jess Keating

Imagine going to middle school and living at the zoo with two zoologists, who happen to be Mom and Dad.  Like the other kids need a reason to pick on her besides her lack of confidence and shyness...

Sourcebooks Jabberwocky and Net Galley gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It published the first of June, so you can find a copy at your local bookstore now.

This type of book tickles my funny bone and makes me laugh.  Ana has been named after an anaconda.  She has chores at the zoo that get her dirty and make her smell bad.  She loves the animals, but she's not real fond of middle school.  Actually middle school is a bit like a zoo, too.  One girl and her friends are the snooty predators.  Ana is more like a monkey than a snake.  And they intimidate her.

She has to do a talk in class and is dreading it.  It gets even worse when her enemy gets the teacher to switch the day to TODAY and can rub it in because she knows of her fear.  She manages, but her knees knock together.

Her mother wants her to make a presentation at the zoo, but she's very hesitant.  She knows she did OK with one child, but not with lots of people.  When she finds she can't wiggle out of it and the girls she hates will be in the front row, she almost despairs.  Another person in the front row is the little girl she talked to about the crocodiles earlier.  She decides to focus on her.

My favorite part of the story is when the mean girl has to hold the baby crocodile.  She's scared, upset, and very uncomfortable.  What goes around, comes around.  It's too bad we don't all have a baby crocodile that could help us get even...

What Ana found out was how she got her name, that her parents and grandparents believed in her and that she could do it.  That made things not only better in school but also better at home.

This is a fun book with a message:  Sometimes you need to stretch beyond your comfort zone; then you'll grow and life will be fuller.

Happy reading.

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