Middle Grade Monday - Barftastic!

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The Barftastic Life of Louie Burger

by Jenny Meyerhoff
Publication Date - June 11th.

Fifth grader Louie Burger figures that with a goofy name like his, he mustbe destined to be a king of comedy like his idol Lou Lafferman. But he’s only ever performed his stand-up act in his closet, where he and his dad created the most exclusive comedy club ever—if by “exclusive” you mean that no one’s ever allowed inside. With the school talent show coming up, Louie’s wondering if now is his moment to kill (that’s comedian talk for “make actual people laugh”). And maybe, if he brings down the house, he’ll win back his former best friend Nick—who seems to be turning into one of those annoying sporty types—and fend off his dad’s home-improvement obsession, which threatens to remodel Louie’s comedy closet into a private bedroom for his older sister. Barftrocious!

My Thoughts:

Louie's family is actually intact, though it has the usual squabbles. His father is attempting to start a new career as an artist, and his mother heads back to work to help support his dream. Louie's dream? He wants to become a stand up comedian.

I loved so many aspects of this book. I adored Louie, that's for sure. I loved how insecure he feels about putting himself out there and performing. I loved the fact that he's a character who isn't a sporty boy, and he's trying to deal with making friends when he doesn't have that connection with his peers. 

I also loved his friends Nick and Thermos. Yes, Thermos. She hates her girly real name, and is always trying to get involved in the boys' sporting games at recess. The friendship challenges that this trio faces felt very realistic, as Louie and Nick struggle to find a way to keep their friendship strong while admitting Thermos into their lives. This is something I see happen a lot in elementary school.

The only thing that struck me as being not quite right about the characters is the fact that they felt a bit young for fifth graders. I teach upper elementary, and I don't know that my fifth graders would be able to see themselves in these characters. On the other hand, my third grade son read it and found it absolutely delightful! I can't wait to book talk it to my third and fourth graders.

Here's what my son had to say -

I like Louie because it is a funny book. I like the fact Louie is a comedian. That's why I like it.

With short chapters interspersed with illustrations and some informational and glossary style pages, Louie will appeal to readers who love Stink and Judy Moody.  Put this one on your list!!

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, with no strings attached.


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