Sunday, March 14, 2010
So what do we think? Bubba and Giganto: Odds against us
Bubba and Giganto: Odds against us
Schizas, Lea. (2008) Bubba and Giganto: Odds against us. OK: 4RV publishing, LLC. ISBN-10: 0979751365. Publisher recommends 6th grade and up. Litland agrees, although content can be appropriate for younger advanced readers (note one profane word). See www.litland.com for full review.
Ever play sports, even if just occasionally? Remember that kid who cheats? The other one who intentionally kicks you in a way that might injure you to get you off the field? The mean insults thrown at you throughout the game? And they call that fun?
Yet there is something about the game that makes us want to be out on the field, overcoming the abuse and winning in spite of it. Perhaps it is that innate desire for good to conquer evil that is created in every fibre of our being. Instinctively, the more the abuse, the more driven we are to overcome it. Game on!
This is the setting for Bubba and Giganto. At the beginning, the story reads like an adult attempting to sound like a child. However, it quickly moves into self-talk and banter that is more realistic, so don’t let that turn you off. The characters are real too...a few “popular” types have control over all the kids due to their lack of courage to stand up for each other. Bubba is used to bullying and thankful his new friend Dave turned out to be so nice. We can feel the frustration as Bubba worries about being bullied, wonders why Dave puts up with it, and seeks to unravel Dave’s secret. We can feel the remorse as he learns from his own bad behaviour.
This story demonstrates the true love of friendship. Not in the terms pushed on us by today’s media: not a “bromance”, nor a same-sex attraction. Just good, old fashioned brotherhood. It is ok once again for men of all ages to admit, yea I love you like a brother.
Bubba is far from perfect. He seems to always think first about how a person or situation can be useful to him. Yet he immediately recognizes goodness, appreciates it and takes on a selfless rather than selfish perspective each time. So we see his formation take place before our eyes, imperfect as it seems.
This is a great book for tween boys. But don’t worry, girls will enjoy it too, and soccer-playing girls can especially relate to much of the story. Bullying is a universal theme: it cuts across age and gender. The book Bubba and Giganto portrays it quite well. The manner in which this story plays out lends it well to discussing friendship, behaviour, collaboration, and meanness. Put it on the summer reading list, and also make it the first class reading assignment when school starts the new year. Litland.com highly recommends this book!