Elvis and the Underdogs
by Jenny Lee is a very fun children's book. I LOVED this book, it was just so entertaining even though the subjects touched upon are pretty serious. The narrator's self-deprecating humor gives the reader a chance to share his worldview and see a different way to approach life. I don't have kids so I am unfamiliar with the show Shake It Up but with this talented lady as a writer and producer, it's no wonder that it's the number-one-rated kids' show in the country.
There are glimpses of what kids go through in a typical day, e.g. lunchtime: "Basically, you can't sit at a table unless you're invited. No one let me sit at their table, mainly because where you sit in the lunchroom is all about status, and I had none. It's like a nice neighborhood where you don't want to get that one neighbor who puts up some puny little house smack in the middle of all these super-nice mansions." and then there are the adventures that Benji gets into but one thing for sure, he never feels sorry for himself and he definitely keeps the reader from being melancholy.
“Elvis and the Underdogs” is written by Jenny
Lee and illustrated by Kelly Light. This is a wonderful children’s
story that centers around 10 year-old Benji Wendell Bernsworth, who
holds the record at his school for missing the most days because he is
frequently sick but can’t convince Billy Thompson (who breaks the
records for missing school because he gets suspended so much) to stop
bullying him. A series of events related to Benji’s illnesses results
in him getting to know Parker Elvis Pembroke IV by mistake. The only
trouble is that Benji is the only one who understands what Elvis (as
Benji calls him) is saying, but Benji discovers that he can learn a
great deal from his new companion and his life will never be the same.
This delightful children’s tale addresses an
amazing number of serious issues in such a lighthearted manner that one
doesn’t get bogged down in depression but rather celebrates the way this
amazing family handles their obstacles. This is a giggle out loud
book that, although it gets rather fantastical, provides a way of
looking differently at the scary world of hospitals, life-threatening
allergies, bullying, parental expectations and peer pressure. The
compassionate nurse who finds a way to transform needed hospital visits
into a punch card to be celebrated because every tenth visit comes with a
prize, Benji’s favorite family picture that has everyone looking in a
different direction, a competitive and opinionated Newfoundland dog, and
even life with a prosthetic are all parts of Benji’s life which is
addressed in a frank and unpitying manner. The unconventional approach
to life as seen by Benji will appeal to children and adults alike as one
discovers that there are ways to compensate for just about everything
although I can’t help but sympathize with Benji...I wouldn’t want to
wear a giant safety helmet everywhere either! There are fun
illustrations that add to the allure of the book and a wry tone that
invites the reader into this zany world and I certainly hope there will
be more tales by this very talented author.
© Night Owl Reviews
I received a copy of this title in return for an honest review.