On the day that I finished ZORGAMAZOO by Robert Paul Weston, I began THE BIRD BOX by Josh Malerman. They couldn’t be more different, but I’m captivated by both.
I’ve been wanting to read ZORGAMAZOO for a while now. It was on the Silver Birch Fiction list in 2010 and won, but I never got to it then. Not surprisingly, this wonderful MG novel told completely in verse also won the California Young Reader Medal in 2011, an E.B. White Read Honour, and was nominated for a Pacific Northwest Young Readers Choice Award as well. Frankly, I think it should have been nominated for everything!
Listen to a short segment:
As you can imagine, this is the story of Katrina Katrell who lives in a world of strange creatures and unimaginable terrors. At the beginning, she runs away from her guardian after being threatened with a lobotomy. Yes….a children’s book with a lobotomy threat. Can it get any better?? But it’s also the story of Mortimer Yorgle who is looking for the creatures called ‘zorgles’ who have all disappeared from the zoo. That about says it all.
Since I grew up loving Dr. Seuss and all of his crazy rhymes, I don’t know why I was reluctant to read a book in verse. This was fantastic, and Weston had me chuckling page after page with his creative lines and rhyming schemes. Pick it up. You won’t be disappointed! This counts as my Summer Reading Challenge selection for a book written in verse. I guess it also doubles as a book that’s been on my TBR list for a while, as well. I loved every second of it, and plan on reading this in the fall to the lucky Grade 4 classes that will come to the library. It’s too fun (and a little creepy), not to share.
And speaking of creepy, although I’m only a few pages into THE BIRD BOX, I can’t put this thing down (okay, I put it down to write this post, but I’m going right back to get it in a moment). Malerman grabs you right from the start with his tale of a woman and her children who live in a world of darkness in order to stay alive. Something has happened in their environment that forces them to cover the windows with mattresses and wear blindfolds in the few moments they must venture outside for water. The children have never seen the sky, and we know something terrible lives out there, but we don’t know what. And wait…Malerman is sending this poor little family out into the world on a foggy day, their one desperate act to escape this life and find safety. What?????? I can’t handle this!!
If the tension continues as it has in the opening, this might become my favourite read of the summer. Go get it now, and then let me know what you think!