Friday, February 20, 2015

Book Review: Greenapple Street Blues

A Fair Trade Book

Title: Greenapple Street Blues
Author: Ted Staunton

Author's web site:

Date: 1987
Publisher: Kids Can / Viking Penguin
ISBN: 0-670-83170-0
Length: 90 pages
Quote: “One sock was green and the other was blue. It was the perfect beginning for a rotten day.”
According to the jacket, this easy “chapter book” is a sequel to an earlier book called Maggie and Me. “Me” would be Cyril, the narrator who’s wearing odd socks in the first scene in this book. And actually, on this first rotten day, his problems are minor: he and Maggie merely get onto opposing sides of a bet.
Further along in the story, the kids face a real problem: Maggie’s parents want to move to a bigger house. While singing the blues about that, they get involved in another silly schoolyard scene in which kids dare each other to eat things that aren’t nearly as disgusting as anything seen on “The Fear Factor.” Then there’s yet another source of primary school blues when Cyril’s mother, who is a substitute teacher, takes his class...and so on.

Misidentified by one Amazon reviewer (and unfairly bashed by another) as a young adult novel, this is a short, easy read about situations where a third alternative works better than either of the first two solutions proposed for each problem. Amusing. Goodhearted. Greenapple Street Blues would be a challenge for primary school readers, or a book middle school readers might read aloud to younger children. It's not a book meant to "excite" kids to screech, giggle, and repeat jokes or gross-outs endlessly on the playground; it is a book to keep the more advanced readers awake while the slow readers struggle, which, I'm told, is something primary schools need as desperately now as they did forty years ago.

As a Fair Trade Book, Greenapple Street Blues will cost $5 + $5 for shipping; out of this $10, Staunton or a charity of his choice will receive $1. If you buy Maggie and Me at the same time, you send salolianigodagewi @ $5 for each book + $5 for shipping; out of this $15, Staunton or his charity gets $2, just as if you'd bought the two books separately and paid $10 each...because this web site calculates shipping charges per package but pays royalties to living authors per book.