I watched Twitter in fascination this weekend, as everyone's 48 hour reading challenge tweets rolled in. This weekend I helped at a football camp, and drove to Colorado Springs to see my mom, and went to a friend's birthday barbecue. I did, however, manage to squeeze in a couple of "nontraditional" novels.
THE DEFENSE OF THADDEUS LEDBETTER by John Gosselink is told entirely through a series of artifacts- letters, emails, detention slips, diagrams, cartoons. At the beginning of the book, it's January, and Thaddeus has been sentenced to in-school suspension for the rest of the year. It seems he's staged the all time largest, most comprehensive emergency drill, which involves being prepared not only for tornadoes, but also killer bees and old people driving down the school halls in cars. Thaddeus is a quirky guy- brilliant, passionate about words, the creator of unique clubs, and with a helpful plan/suggestion for every dilemma that confronts the school principal. Throughout the book, Thaddeus attempts to convince the principal, his teachers, and his Uncle Pete (who has somehow been pressed into the role of defense lawyer) why he should not be in a semester of in school suspension. The book is clever and oh so funny, perfect for strong fifth grade readers or for the middle school set.
DOODLEBUG, by Karen Romano Young, is another book told in a very unique style. At the beginning of the book, Dodo Bussey, aka Doodlebug, and her family are in the car, moving from Los Angeles to San Francisco, because her father has taken a new job. Her parents give Dodo a journal, which she fills with doodles, sketches, cartoons, conversations, and lists, that chronicle her adjustment to her new school. This is another book perfect for fifth grade and/or middle schoolers.