Tuesday, September 1
Bobby Vs. Girls (Accidentally)
by Lisa Yee
illustrations by Dan Santat
Arthur A. Levine / Scholastic Books 2009
Bobby and Holly are friends and have been for some time, they just aren't friends in front of other kids. Because everyone knows that boys and girls cannot be friends, Bobby and Holly have tried to keep their private friendship separate from their school freinds, but things get complicated (and confusing for Bobby) when Holly aligns herself with queen bee Jillian and begins to actively hate Bobby. Or so she'd have everyone believe.
For Bobby's part, he does what you'd expect a fourth grader to do, which is to bumble his way through misadventures that threaten both his friendship with Holly and his standing as a boy in the gender roles that the kids feed into. The centerpiece of the story is election for student council representative that pits boys against girls, specifically Bobby against Holly. Amid the boy/girl tension Bobby also has his former football star turned stay-at-home dad embarrassing him, he gets himself stuck to a tree on a field trip to a botanical garden, and then there's that run-in with static cling involving underwear stuck to his shirt. Also, Bobby longs for a dog, but he's allergic to fur, so he tries to teach his pet goldfish to do tricks to compensate.
Good stuff for the younger middle grade set, and a good starting point for discussions about boy/girl friendships. It does end with a note of hope that boys and girls can be friends but it won't be an easy road ahead.