Monday, June 11, 2018

Books With Bean ~ Bruno and Boots

Books With Bean, book reviews by teens, Gordon Korman

Title: Bruno & Boots: This Can’t be Happening at McDonald Hall

Author: Gordon Korman

Published: 1978

Genre: Comedy, Middle Grade

Summary: Life at boarding school might seem boring to most, especially when your school is only good at academics instead of sports. After many years of defeat at the hand of their arch rivals of York Academy the boys of McDonald Hall are fed up with never winning. Most boys would just play harder but not Bruno Walton. No, things are never that simple. Instead of putting in a bit of extra practice before the game he decides (with the help of his best friend, roommate, and unwilling accomplice Melvin “Boots” O’Neal) to steal the York Academy mascot (a large cat named Myrtle). The plan works well at first as the McDonald hall team wins the game but when the boys go back to their dorm room where they were keeping her they find out she had kittens during the game and they now have to get all the cats back on the York bus before the team returns. They seem to get out of hot water until their Headmaster Mr. Sturgeon, a.k.a the Fish, calls them to his office for both the catnapping and several other recent offenses. While they are there Mr. Sturgeon tells them that because of all the trouble they have caused together in their time as students he is separating them. They will no longer share a room and they aren't even allowed to talk to each other during classes, lunch or free time. They boys are each given new rooms, Bruno with the “Mad” Scientist of room 201 Elmer Drimsdale who cares more for plants and insects then for people, and Boots to room 109 home of the very rich, very annoying and overly clean freak George Wexford-Smyth III. Boots is unhappy with the arrangement but Bruno will not have it so they boys meet in secret at night planning on ways to get the Headmaster to put them back together.

What I liked about it: Goodness, what do I not like about it?! I first read the first 4 Bruno and Boots books several years ago when we were looking at books at my Grandmother’s house and my mom pulled them out saying that she had read them as a kid. I recognized the author as he has written a lot of children's and middle grade books since Bruno and Boots first came out (they were some of his first books, this one having actually been a 7th grade school project before becoming the start of the series several years later) and so I decided to read them. I think one of the reasons I love them so much is that they are juts plain fun! Yes the kids do occasionally break the rules but its usually for a good cause and they have a ton of fun along the way. These books never get old and they never get any less funny with each time you read them. To some kids now a days they may seem a little old but they never loose their charm. I think one of the other reasons I love them so much is because Bruno and Boots (and the two main girls Cathy - who is like Bruno - and Diane - who is more like Boots) remind me a bit of my sister any I. Not in what they do exactly (I’ve never stolen cats, collected 41,000+ soda cans, or had to go to boarding school) but we have a smiler dynamic of she wants to do a lot of different stuff (some of it it bit weird) and I’m always there whether I want to be or not. Not because I want to be a part of what she is doing (sometimes I do) but because I’m there to make sure she doesn’t hurt herself or get into trouble in the process. Besides just Bruno and Boots and Cathy and Diane the boys have lots of other friends at school who have all sorts of different and entertaining personalities and while they may be unwilling followers of Bruno’s plans at first are always there to lend a hand if it means helping their school stay the amazing place that they love. 

Language: None

Romance: None, there is a girls school across the road and the boys have friends there (who they occasionally visit at night to plan strategies with) but it never becomes inappropriate in any way.

Violence: Miss Scrimmage has a shotgun but she has such bad aim she never hits what she means to. She just waves it around as a show of force to deter anyone who might hurt in her words “Her poor defenseless girls” (who are anything  but defenseless)

Magic: None

Recommended Age: 10-11 is a good age although you are never too old for them as I just reread them and still love them at 18. 

Books With Bean, book reviews by teens, Gordon Korman

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