The Vanderbeekers on the Road — Review

Thought for the Day:

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late…to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” 
~ Eric Roth, screenplay, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

I hadn’t thought about needing special skills for creating an introverted character until I ran across the article HERE from Writer’s Digest by Claire Alexander. She makes good points. This is something to think about.

Writer’s Rumpus often has great posts for children’s writers. HERE is a terrific one by Laura Fineberg Cooper called The Differences Between Plot and Theme … and How They Intertwine.

You can’t go wrong with Anne R. Allen’s blog. She always has good content. HERE she writes about Critiquing 101: Ten Do’s and Don’ts for Giving Helpful Critiques.

Football again this weekend, and I have been busy watching it. Now the 49ers game is on, and I don’t have much to say, so I will leave you with some funny stuff.

From the Washington Post Style Invitation, in which it was postulated that English should have male and female nouns. Readers were asked to assign a gender to a noun of their choice and explain their reason.
The best submissions:
SWISS ARMY KNIFE: male, because even though it appears useful for a wide variety of work, it spends most of its time just opening bottles.
KIDNEYS: female, because they always go to the restroom in pairs.
TIRE: male, because it goes bald and often is over-inflated.
HOT-AIR BALLOON: male, because to get it to go anywhere you have to light a fire under it… and, of course, there’s the hot-air part.
SPONGES: female, because they are soft and squeezable and retain water.
WEB PAGE: female, because it is always getting hit on.
SHOE: male, because it is usually unpolished, with its tongue hanging out.
COPIER: female, because once turned off, it takes a while to warm up. Because it is an effective reproductive device when the right buttons are pushed, and it can wreak havoc when the wrong buttons are pushed.
ZIPLOC BAGS: male, because they hold everything in, but you can always see right through them.
SUBWAY: male, because it uses the same old lines to pick people up.
HOURGLASS: female, because over time, the weight shifts to the bottom.
HAMMER: male, because it hasn’t evolved much over the last 5,000 years, but it’s handy to have around.
REMOTE CONTROL: female…Ha! You thought I’d say male. But consider: it gives man pleasure, he’d be lost without it, and while he doesn’t always know the right buttons to push, he keeps trying.

I have been a fan of the Vanderbeekers since I read the first book a few years ago. Karina Yan Glaser really has a great franchise going with these books! Whenever I see one come up on the review lists, I grab it, so I was happy to get The Vanderbeekers on the Road for review from the Seattle Book Review. I was not disappointed. And, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the cover! Here is the review I wrote for SBR.

The Vanderbeekers are back for their sixth episode. When Dad can’t get home in time for his birthday, the family decides to surprise him and take him on a trip his father had planned for him but never got to take. They borrow a van from a neighbor and pack up (including 3 cats and a dog). Neighbors Mr. B. and Orlando join them. There are bumps along the way. Can they make it to Dad before the stroke of midnight on his birthday? The younger Vanderbeekers discover Jessie and Orlando are planning to interview for scholarships at UC Berkeley and vow to scuttle their interviews so they won’t move away. But Orlando really needs the scholarship, especially since Mr. B. quit his job.

Karina Yan Glaser

Karina Yan Glaser has written another wonderful story of this family drama. The characters are well-rounded, and each flawed but lovable in his or her own way. This one takes the family out of their familiar brownstone in Harlem and gives them lots of problems to overcome in their close quarters packed into a van. The writing is great, the dialogue is snappy, and the story is very compelling. It is a winner.

Please don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.

21 thoughts on “The Vanderbeekers on the Road — Review”

  1. I love road trip books and having it be with the Vanderbeekers makes this even more appealing. Such a great series.
    I’ve bookmarked the links and will get to them by week’s end. I’m especially interested in the one on plot and theme,
    Thanks also for the humor and for featuring your post on today’s MMGM.


  2. The series sounds intriguing and a lot of fun — I just haven’t started it. Need to because I thinks some grandkids would enjoy it! Great review. And I loved “remote control.” Would have guessed male, but I control it our house because my husband gets mixed up using it with all the streaming channels. 🙂


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