Friday, May 24, 2013

4th and 5th Grade Book Club Finale - with special guest star

For our finale for the book club this year, we read a really fun mystery. All the kids loved it and several want to read the rest of the books. I call that a smashing success!

We read The Potato Chip Puzzles book, which features Winston Breen who loves to solve puzzles. He's in luck as there's a contest for middle school students hosted by snack guru Mr Simon. He's king of potato chips. He's offering one school $50,000 if they can solve all the puzzles during the competition. Winston's excited about the opportunity, but then things get out of hand. Sportsmanship goes out the window as it's clear there's a cheater in the competition. Cam Winston and his friends solve the puzzles in time?

My Thoughts:I really enjoyed this fun mystery - not only were there puzzles to solve, but there was also the identity of the cheater to uncover. Lots of action and excitement over solving these puzzles. The three friends joked around a lot, but they could be serious too. I liked how they were unhappy with their leader when he displayed unsportsmanlike conduct and how they helped out their fellow teams. I liked how they worked together to figure out the puzzles and how they weren't afraid to speak their minds. Plus the puzzles were really fun and challenging!

Our book club thoughts:
They liked there was a lot of action - right from the beginning.
They liked the puzzles
They liked the mystery
They liked the settings of each location and how unique they were

We were lucky enough to Skype with Eric Berlin for a few moments.

We asked him lots of questions and we learned:
He LOVES puzzles and wanted to write a book he would have enjoyed as a kid
As a kind, he spent money at the Scholastic Book Fair buying puzzle books and mysteries
He would spend recess solving puzzles
He wrote his first book on construction paper with a crayon in the first grade
He wanted to write about drawing the line in sportsmanship - what are the gray areas of cheating.
As part of the clues, he created scenes around each clue. The sun translated into the sun wheel which translated into the Ferris Wheel (which was one of my favorite scenes in the book)

Thanks Eric, we had a GREAT time talking with you and reading your book! 

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