Yesterday I drove two hours to get my mother from the airport. Unfortunately, I forgot all my reading materials at the house. I got to the airport 3o minutes early, and I knew I had to do something to kill time, Facebook was not an option. I was definitely regretting that I forgot all my books at home when I have so much reading to do! After waiting and waiting more than 30 minutes, I learned the flight was delayed two hours! Good thing I had made the choice to read one of the books my son had in his reading portfolio.
Mr. Burke Is Berserk, by Dan Gutman was an interesting book, I have to say that even today I am not sure if I ended up liking it or not. One fact is that it did make me laugh several times since its genre is hilarious, and silly words were used as well. As I read through the book, I kept wondering if my son, who is seven years and in second grade, was actually understanding the words when he was reading this book. (Because the characters all of a sudden started talking like people from the South used to in the 1950s during the Gold rush). An example is, ‘”well, Ah’ll be dogged,” Mr. Burke said. “Mah great-great-grandpappy lived over yonder back in ’48. He told me there was a heap a gold left in the ground after the big gold rush ended. And Ah reckon it was right here!”‘ (p.p 61). Personally, this type of language would definitely completely confuse me, and I believe it could get some young readers/children confuse as well. However, I do have to say the illustrations through out the book also help the reader to better understand what is going on. (Illustrations are black and white only). I believe this book would be more appropriate for a fourth or fifth grader because of its language and form of expression. Also, the fact that there are several pages which talk about zombies eating the kids brains, Mr. Burke, the groundskeeper, killing kids with a chainsaw, using the word stupid, I hate math, and many other graphic words (for lack of a better word), make this book more appropriate for an older mature reader.
Everything started to change at Ella Mentry School when Mayor Hubble decided to fire the art and music teacher and to make budged and services cuts in the school in order to stop “spending” so much money. He comes up with many silly solutions which definitely make the reader giggle. One day, when Mayor Hubble decided to get rid of the swings, slides, balls, and to cut the monkey bars at the school to rent them, everything changed. All of a sudden, Mr. Burke, the school groundskeeper who had also been fired by the mayor, started digging underneath where the monkey bars used to be, and to everyones surprise, he found Gold! Also, the weirdest thing in the history of the world happened, Mr. Burke also found “Gilver,” which was a mixture of gold and silver. When these events happened, the book takes a different turn and many new events continue happening.
Check this book out to find out what happened. Will the kids be able to get their play ground back? Their school materials? And most important of all, will the music and art program come back to the school?