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#02 Jack and the Wild Life
Series: The Berenson Schemes
Written by Lisa Doan
Illustrated by Ivica Stevanovic
Darby Creek 9/01/2014
144 pages Age 9—12
“After a wild plan by his parents left Jack stranded in the Caribbean, the Berenson family decided to lay out some rules. Jack’s mom and dad agreed they wouldn’t take so many risks. Jack agreed he’d try to live life without worrying quite so much. Then Jack’s parents thought up another get-rich-quick scheme. Now the family’s driving around Kenya. An animal attack is about to send Jack up a tree—alone, with limited supplies. As Jack attempts to outsmart a ferocious honey badger and keep away from an angry elephant, he’ll have plenty of time to wonder if the Berenson Family Decision-Making Rules did enough to keep him out of trouble.” [book jacket]
The Berenson family adults are constantly trying to find an easy way to make a fortune, conjuring up one odd scheme after another. Jack is the one that pays the price for these awful plans, while his parents wander through life unaware of most everything around them, including their missing son. This makes for many comical situations and gives the series its heart. This time, the Berensons fly to Africa, Jack in tow, because, as Dad tells Jack,
“Your mum and I have invented a brand-new kind of tourism . . . a surefire moneymaking opportunity.”
They plan to build a tourist camp where people can live like a real Maasai tribe. Using mud, sticks, grass, and more mud, Jack’s parents plan to build the Maasai mud-huts tourists will gladly rent to experience tribal life (and a fence to keep out the lions). The best part of their plans, the two adults believe, is they need no money to build their attraction—Mother Nature supplies the materials. Jack is not thrilled. He finally had a “normal” life, a home, parents who held down real 9-to-5 jobs, and a new friend—Diana. Once summer began to fade into fall, Jack’s parents could no longer do that “grind.” But this time things will be different: Jack’s parents will plan ahead, not take any risks, and not lose Jack. Changing their ways proves more difficult than the parents thought, as things do not go as planned, risks are taken, and, well, Jack . . . he ends up in a tree.
Poor Jack, now he is in Africa, stuck up a tree, while his parents—yet to realize Jack flew out of the rented Jeep—are trying to find the guide for their new camp. Jack must protect himself from animals on the ground and the ones that can get past the fence he built around the tree. He sleeps in the tree, eats in the tree, and fears for his life—and the life of Mack, Diana’s stuffed monkey—in the tree. The last time his parents had a get-rich-quick scheme, Jack feared for his life on a deserted island. (#1 – Jack the Castaway reviewed here).
The Berenson Schemes is a wonderful series, especially for kids that wish they could take control. With roles reversed, Jack acts more the parent, setting rules and following through. Meanwhile, Jack’s parents act more like spoiled, unruly children, who care about themselves first and Jack second. They do love their son, but cannot get it together as adults. In book #2, Jack and the Wild Life, the family has new decision-making rules in the hopes that Jack’s parents will be parents that are more responsible. As Jack makes a tree-bed out of duct tape and reads his Kenya guide, he thinks maybe the rules are not working as he had hoped they would.
I love the black and white illustrations. Stevanovic does a great a job of enhancing the story, giving readers a view into Jack’s situation and his emotions. I wish I had more images to show readers. The full-page illustrations are fantastic and have been in both books. By the end of the story, Jack’s parents may see the errors of their ways and promise Jack they will try harder to change . . . until the next edition, when they tire of being adults, devise a new scheme, and hook Jack into their plans. The Berenson Schemes #2: Jack and the Wild Life is great fun and I look forward to each new scheme and Jack’s consequences for merely being his parents’ child. Kids will love the mayhem Doan creates and the magic in Stevanovic’s illustrations. Book #3: Jack at the Helm, released this past March, 2015.
JACK AND THE WILD LIFE (THE BERENSON SCHEMES #2). Text copyright © 2014 by Lisa Doan. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Lerner Publishing Group, Inc. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Darby Creek, Minneapolis, MN.
Learn more about Jack and the Wild Life HERE.
CCSS Guide for Teachers HERE.
Meet the author, Lisa Doan, at her website: http://www.lisadoan.org/
Meet the illustrator, Ivica Stevanovic, at his website: http://ivicastevanovicart.blogspot.com/
Find more middle grade books at the Darby Creek website: http://bit.ly/DarbyCreek
Darby Creek is a division of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc.
The Berenson Schemes
#01 – Jack and the Castaway – 2015 IPPY Gold Medalist for Juvenile fiction
Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
Review section word count = 518
War Bonds: Love Stories from the Greatest Generation. Cindy Hval. 2015. Casemate. 240 pages. [Source: Review copy]
A friend of mine asked me to blog on the topic: influence. I thought to myself that this can be done in so many ways, but yet accepted the challenge. Sometimes, we can be influenced by other people. We may come across positive influences as well as negative. I used to have a friend in junior high. Unfortunately, she was a bad influence on me. I did get into trouble at that time whenever I hung out with her. However, I believe that bad influences come and go out of our lives for a reason. This causes us to identify with our inner self on a deeper plateau. Our environment definitely has a strong affect upon us. If we are residing in an urbanized environment, our goals and expectations are much different from someone living in a rural environment. There are many other influences that impress upon our lives such as music. If we love to listen to a certain type of music, we may take that lifestyle that coincides with that music and thus become one. Teachers may have an influence upon our lives. Henry Adams once said, "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." Sometimes, we look up to celebrities as well as the world around us. We analyze the latest trends that are in the world and get influenced to want to be part of that. As human beings, we are like sponges. We soak up so much information that the world has to offer us. We becomes easily influenced to follow and submerse our self into what the norm has decided for us. It is very difficult for most people to be a leader and not a follower. I think one of the most difficult challenges in life is to try to influence others and not become influenced. "True leaders don't create followers. They create more leaders."
This was originally printed in the SCBWI Bulletin a few years ago, but in critiquing several manuscripts for an upcoming conference, I thought it might be helpful to repost it on my blog for those who insist on writing repetitive redundancies. Repetitive Redundancies By Gayle C. Krause What kind of title is that? It means the same thing. Exactly my point! Many new writers are absolutelyAdd a Comment
Read on for more about the Classic Edition of The Wizard of Oz illustrated by Charles Santore, my Oz memories, and a giveaway!
Like most children of many ages, my first exposure to The Wizard of Oz was the 1939 film/musical version starring Judy Garland. I've never read the novels, but now that I've read the classic edition, I really want to! I'm normally very wary of retellings and abridgments, but the classic edition of The Wizard of Oz does its best to capture the spirit and retain as much as possible of Baum's original text. Coupled with the gorgeous and imaginative watercolors of Charles Santore, this edition is essential for any child's library.
Santore plays with color, from the gray stormy overcast of Kansas, to the vibrant red poppy field, to the rich, almost-monochromatic-but-not-quite Emerald City. The golden hue of the Yellow Brick Road ties it all together. A lithe art-nouveau Glinda contrasts in style with a stumpy Great Oz and grotesque Wicked Witch. And if you're familiar with the Saturday Evening Post, you'll recognize the Americana touches to the illustrations. I get the impression that Santore's imagination caught fire upon reading the book, which he did so reluctantly, then repeatedly. There are so many spreads in this book that I would love to frame, particularly the pages with red poppies and the Queen of All the Field Mice.
The Wizard of Oz was one of those movies that I had to watch and listen to ad nauseam when I was younger and my little sister was addicted to this film. There was a time I could perform the entire movie with dialogue and song entirely from memory. It's interesting reading the novel, even in abridged format, and encountering so many differences between the classic edition and the film. I will have to dig out my husband's copies of the series from when he was a child, and discover the differences for myself.
Follow along with the Official Blog Tour
One lucky winner will get a copy of The Wizard of Oz: Classic Edition. US addresses only, ends May 31, 2015.
Krasznahorkai László was awarded the Man Booker International Prize earlier this week, and in The Guardian he writes about My hero: George Szirtes and my other translators, a nice little tribute to those who have helped spread the Krasznahorkai-word beyond Hungarian.Add a Comment
We got our new jackets on Friday – don’t they look snazzy?! I’m SO BLESSED to work with such incredible people!!
Work is going well. I continue to work my ass off but I’m starting to feel more and more comfortable with what I’m doing. There are moments when I feel like I’m sort of flying by the seat of my pants and thank goodness I think quick on my feet and can ooze fake confidence when I need to, but for the most part, I’m settling into the medical assistant position.
I’ve been a medical assistant for a little over one year now. That sort of blows my mind when I stop to think about it. I honestly feel like I still just stumbled into this gig and I’m BSing my way through every clinic. I’m confident on the phones and handling the scheduling part of the job, of course, but the actual medical part of this job still sort of scares me a little bit.
I guess I’m going to stick this out. I had thought, at one time, I might just hang it up and move on to something else, but this past year, though terribly challenging, and continues to challenge me every day, has been one of the most rewarding years in my life. There’s something deeply satisfying helping people and it’s such an HONOR to work with some of the top 1% of the doctors in the country!
I’m pretty sure this is my last job. I will likely retire from the medical field. Which is so crazy for me. I never, once, in my whole life, aspired to be in the medical field. I wanted to be a writer, a paralegal, or a medical transcriptionist, which true, is in the medical field, but more on the outskirts of the medical field, not in the trenches actually interacting with patients.
And yet, here I am.
I have spent hundreds of dollars on scrubs. When I started as a scheduler, we wore a different color each day of the week. So I spent $200 just on that my first week of work. Now that I’m a medical assistant, our colors have changed again – navy, black and gray. And I have added on to my scrub collection as I’ve gone along because I get bored with one brand, I find something just a little cute/different and/or the fit is unflattering that I can’t force myself to wear them anymore.
Scrubs are NOT cheap. I just recently bought another scrub “outfit” for just under $70.
One scrub top. One scrub bottom.
So. There’s that investment.
And now I’m getting ready to spend another $150 in order to become certified. And another $50 bucks to purchase the study guide and an online test so that I can prepare for this certification process. BUT. If/when I do this, I will automatically receive a $1 raise which means I will have paid for my investment in three weeks and ultimately make more money.
Not to mention, being certified carries more responsibility and more opportunities.
And I’m motivated to do this because the government has implemented yet more strangling meaningful use policies and I’m no longer able to do a few tasks like I used to be able to do. However, I can do these tasks if I’m certified. So OF COURSE, I have to become certified because nothing frustrates me more than NOT being to do something or do my job to my maximum ability.
I will learn everything there is to know about being a medical assistant. I honestly have no intention of going any further than this, at this point. But if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I have an uncanny knack for sort of falling into things so who knows where I’ll be five years from now.
I never imagined I would be where I am now five years ago.
As far as the people … my nurse still drives me nuts – in fact, there are days I would gladly punch her in the face. But she’s sweet and funny and we’re all getting used to her, I suppose. Her personality is just so ABRASIVE! AARGH! And everything about her rubs me like sandpaper, her tone of voice, the way she treats patients, the way she has to include herself in EVERY SINGLE CONVERSATION THAT GOES ON AROUND HER, whether she’s included or not, her obsession with food, her butt crack. Yes, her butt crack. She was a size smaller when she came to us from the hospital but she refuses to allow herself to buy bigger pants, so she wears these tight t-shirts and low-waisted scrub pants and when she bends over – HELLO MOON. Our nurse manager actually came by her one day, yanked down her t-shirt and whispered in her ear loud enough for me to hear, “your butt crack is showing again.” AAARGH She’s just so immature and self absorbed … drives me nuts.
However. I don’t see her going anywhere any time soon so I guess I just need to suck it up. I’ve worked with my doctor for over a year now and I’m the “veteran” on the team since his nurse started with him in October and his PA started with him this past January. Even though I’ve worked with him over a year now, I still feel pretty shy around him. We’re both loosening up around each other now and I am starting to see a lot more of his personality. I’m VERY FORTUNATE to work with a laid back, easy-going doctor. He rarely loses his temper (in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him lose his temper), but you can tell when he’s annoyed. I just try and make his clinics run as smooth as possible, even if that means I make other people in the clinic mad at me because I INSIST they do their jobs.
We’re supposed to be moving into our new home in July. The hospital is adding onto the main building and neurosurgery will be taking over the 7th floor. My doctor was on the planning board for this move so he views it as his baby. I’m really looking forward to moving to our new digs. Not only will it be “new”, it will be next to the hospital and Kevin and I are already planning on meeting in the hospital cafeteria for lunch. (They actually have pretty good food for cheap). Parking will be a challenge as it’s already a challenge at the hospital as it is now, let alone when our clinic starts going over there every day, but we’ll find our new normal, we’ll just have to endure the speed bumps along the way.
The building we’re in now is embarrassing. It’s so old and ever since the announcement was made that we would be moving to the hospital, there has been very little motivation to fix or maintain our building and it’s starting to show a lot of wear and tear.
Oh. That reminds me of a story.
Our air conditioner went out – again. Our air conditioner goes out about every other month, it’s so annoying. So our HVAC guys showed up to take a look at it and found that the wires had been yanked out. Apparently, some homeless guy was living in the area, (the area is enclosed by a privacy fence) and he had cut out all of the copper wiring presumably to sell it. This is what happens when you have a crappy economy and more and more people are out of work – desperate times call for desperate measures.
There is now a lock on the fenced-in area. (There probably should have been a lock on it to begin with but you don’t think about things like this until they happen).
There are always weird situations that crop up in this business, but the latest weirdness happened a few weeks ago. A nine-year old boy came into the clinic for scoliosis. Though I’m not sure how the referring doctor came up with this diagnosis considering there were no films on file to show he had scoliosis. The boy’s guardian was his grandmother, who couldn’t read. So the boy’s mother came with them, but could barely read herself. So getting someone to fill out paperwork was a challenge.
When I approached the front desk to get the boy’s chart and show him back to a room, one of the girls pulled me aside and told me that the boy had gone into the mens’ bathroom and pooped on the floor. Why he didn’t poop in the toilet, I don’t know. (I found out later that the nine-year old boy still wore pull-ups. Not because he couldn’t control his bladder/bowels, but because his guardians were tired of dealing with his rebellious I will poop and pee whenever and wherever I please attitude). When I called the boy back, the mother started to stand and told the grandmother she was to stay in the waiting room. I nixed that suggestion in the bud.
“Is she the boy’s guardian?” I asked.
When the mother quietly nodded, (I can be quite intimidating when I need to be), I shook my head and said, “she will have to come back with him since she’s the guardian.” (It’s a legal issue).
In addition to the boy, the boy’s little sister came back, too. They were both the wildest children I’ve ever been around. They talked a mile a minute and they would not sit still. I had to get the pediatric cuff in order to take his blood pressure and I had to get firm with him because he wouldn’t sit still. When my doctor’s PA went in there next, (she interviews new patients first before the doctor goes in), I heard her raise her voice a few times telling the boy to sit down and be quiet. And when my doctor finally went in there, he was in there for two minutes, (because there was nothing he could do for the boy since we didn’t have any films on him – he’s a doctor, not an xray machine), the little boy followed him out and looked at my doctor like he was a god or something. I’m sure the boy didn’t have a male role model in his life judging from the way he was following my doctor around like a little lost puppy.
In addition to being sad, the whole situation was pretty disgusting, too. They were Medicaid and though I’m trying very hard not to judge people who have Medicaid, more often than not, they are people who were referred to our clinic without a proper workup and it’s a waste of everyone’s time and money simply because the boy’s primary care physician didn’t fully do his/her job. I’m assuming the boy’s PCP simply referred him to our office to get the boy out of his hair.
It’s a terrible abuse of our Medicaid system.
I could go on and on with examples, I don’t want to sound too preachy or judgy, but just know, there’s a REASON why Medicaid patients are cast into a stereotypical mold, because many act exactly the way we expect them to. It’s very sad, to be honest.
Our nurse manager is moving on to another position. We’re all pretty shaken by this news. She’s AWESOME and she will be SORELY missed but we can’t fault her for wanting to further her career. In the meantime, management has formed two committees, (sounds like something management would do, lol) in order to help interview her replacement. I didn’t volunteer for the position, I wasn’t sure I wanted to put myself in that situation, but when they came to me and asked me to participate I couldn’t really say no. This is going to be doubly challenging considering we’re getting ready to move and we won’t really have a “captain” to guide us.
I have a feeling this summer is going to be crazy busy for us.
There is a closing note in Julie Paschkis’ new picture book about how she and her family have an annual party where they gather together with friends to decorate eggs and eat yummy food. She makes particular mention of pysanky, Ukrainian decorated eggs, and a brilliant, decorated egg is an integral part of the story in this bright and beautiful book, P. Zonka Lays an Egg (Peachtree, March 2015). When I say bright, I’m talking a primarily sunny yellow palette, punctuated by other warm and lovely colors.
The story itself is about a chicken who doesn’t lay her eggs on time, nor does she lay enough of them to suit all the other chickens. (Rebel, nonconforming chickens are my favorite kinds of chickens, even if I can’t start my day without scrambled eggs.) P. Zonka is too busy taking in her surroundings, observing all the world’s wonders and details, to lay her eggs. But never fear: She has a big surprise for everyone in the end. “Every page turn,” writes the Kirkus review, “reveals a stunning new composition of fowls with personality, baskets of eggs and floral design elements evocative of … the beautiful folk art found on a Ukrainian decorated egg.”
It’s technically still Spring, so let’s take a look at some art from the book. (Most spreads are sans text.) I thank Julie for sharing; she also sent some early sketches. Oh, and we’ll close with some of Julie’s decorated eggs.
Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.
1) A night out.
1½) With raspberry torte.
2) Letterman’s farewell on Wednesday night. One of my oldest friends and I had on our bucket list to see him live one day, and well … we missed out on that. [She was, however, on the show years ago, handing an animal to Jack Hanna (since she works with zoos), and she brought me some surprises from the green room. I still have them.]
3) Last weekend’s children’s reading festival in Knoxville was wonderful, as always. Pictured here is the good discussion we had about picture books. I moderated, and weighing in with great responses were: R. Gregory Christie, Phil Stead, Erin Stead, Laura Vaccaro Seeger, and Dan Santat.
4) New bikes!
5) I finally wrote about my trip to Wyoming here. Maybe next week I’ll share more photos from the day (here at 7-Imp).
6) I went from the Tetons to the Appalachians in the span of one week.
7) School is over! The girls and I have a huge stack of books we can’t wait to read. Summer time = more time to read. (And swim.)
BONUS #1: This. Kyle Mooney makes me laugh.
BONUS #2: Game of Thrones, The Musical.
BONUS #3: Reading lots of picture books this week at my daughters’ school. I also got a third-grade class turned on to Dory Fantasmagory and left them my copy. Since I’m a Dory Evangelist, my work there is done.
What are YOUR kicks this week?Add a Comment
On June 6, I’ll be speaking at the Global Family Reunion about my family, my interest in genealogy, ancestry, genetics, and the things we know and stories we tell ourselves about inheritance, and how my fascination with all of this became the book I’m writing. My talk will be at 3:30 p.m.
The reunion, brainchild of AJ Jacobs, also features Jacobs, Henry Louis Gates, CeCe Moore, George Church, Daniel Radcliffe, Lisa Loeb, and many others, and is a full day of events held on the old World’s Fair grounds in Queens. Everyone’s invited.
Tickets are available at EventBrite. Proceeds benefit the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. Free admission for kids.Add a Comment
PEN American Center has issued a report on 'Foreign Authors and the Challenge of Chinese Censorship': Censorship and Conscience (warning ! dreaded pdf format !).
An interesting overview, with examples -- and author-reactions such as Paul Auster's:
The publisher, Shanghai 99 Readers, cut several pages describing Liu and his situation. In several other places, mentions of the dissident's name were replaced by "L." References to China were replaced by "Country C." Auster told PEN that he never signed off on the changes and feels his book was "mutilated." "Some limbs have been chopped off," Auster said.(The Chinese situation is, on the one hand extreme, but on the other also predictable -- really, writers should be aware that this might happen, especially regarding China-sensitive material. And I can't help but note that mutilation-in-translation is a near-universal practice (worse in some markets than others) -- albeit generally not due to government pressure, but rather largely publisher-initiated, as they want to 'fix' books for domestic consumption (in translation-into-English that often (but not only) means: abbreviate, as in cutting out chunks of the original); while authors are more often (though certainly not always) at least made aware of the changes that are made they generally have little choice in the matter -- and, in the case of translation-into-English, the prize (translation into English !) may seem big enough that they'll acquiesce to any gutting of their book the publisher deems fit. Disappointingly, consumers (readers) are largely left in the dark as to how a text has been (mal)treated in translation -- publishers rarely making mention of what they've done.
PalFest -- the Palestine Festival of Literature -- has started, and runs through the 28th.Add a Comment
Hi folks, welcome to the blog. I'm writing a continuing series called BLOOM this month. It's all about how to make your work bloom. Not always an easy task. This week I'm going to chat about how blooming is really evolutionary process. Writing a book definitely starts a with a spark of an idea and slowly over time a complex book appears.
अक्सर हमारी कोशिश रहती है कि कोई भी काम अच्छे और शुभ मुहुर्त्त में किया जाए ताकि शुभ ही हो … चाहे CM पद के लिए oath या कोई business आरम्भ करना हो पर हमारे दक्षिण भारतीय चोर महाशय तो और भी स्मार्ट निकले इन्होनें तो जेल जाने के लिए मुहुर्त निकलवाया हैAdd a Comment
Zoe isn't exactly the intellectual type, which is why she doesn't recognize world-famous author Thomas Rocher when she stumbles into his apartment...and into his life. It's also why she doesn't know that Rocher is supposed to be dead. Turns out, Rocher faked his death years ago to escape his critics, and has been making a killing releasing his new work as "lost manuscripts," in cahoots with his editor/ex-wife Agathe. Neither of them would have invited a crass party girl like Zoe into their literary conspiracy of two, but now that she's there anyway. . . . Zoe doesn't know Balzac from Batman, but she's going to have to wise up fast... because she's sitting on the literary scandal of the century!I feel like I've seen this one get a fair amount of publicity in the comics/graphic novels circles, but it's something I grabbed on a whim. I was interested in the idea of a literary figure faking his death as well as being in a romantic relationship with a non-intellectual. I think the author did a great job of making Rocher pretentious and unappealing, to the point that he was hard to read. I definitely pictured him as comics-style Jonathan Franzen, which didn't do much for his likability, but was exactly what I expected. He was unlikable in a fun way, especially if you know literary enthusiasts who tend toward the pretentious side of things.
Most everyone will agree that technology can be both beneficial and detrimental but how to explain this to children can often be difficult. Dr. Brian Whitestone, author of Thinkerox: A Brain in a Box, has depicted both aspects for children in an imaginative and vivid tale about a boy and his invention.Add a Comment
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