Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

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Gantos Jack
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000.
IL 5-8  RL 5.9
ISBN 0374399891

(3 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

I’d like to tell you a little about the main character in this book. His name is Joey Pigza. Joey is a lively, energetic boy. His life is full of games and adventure. The story starts off at the end of the school year and the beginning of summer. Joey decides to entertain himself in the front yard playing darts. Joey has excellent aim and is able to hit the center of the target every time. Now do you think that this game is entertaining to a hyper child like Joey? Nooooo. Joey decides to make the game a little more interesting. He decides to turn around and shoot the target from between his legs. His dart misses and goes onto the neighbor’s property. Do you think the neighbor is happy about this? Noooo. Joey decides to take the game inside. Joey creates his own shooting range of various fake animals. He attaches them to sofas and chairs all over the family room. Then he begins his game. At first he throws darts directly at the targets but this gets too simple! To make the game challenging, Joey decides to spin around a make himself dizzy. This definitely makes the game challenging but when he accidentally pierces a dart through his Chihuahua’s ear his little summer adventures at home alone are quickly ended. Joey’s mom agrees to let him spend the summer with his hyperactive father. Joey had learned to deal with his hyperactivity through the use of medication. But when his father decides that Joey does not need his medication, Joey’s summer begins to crumble. To learn about Joey’s crazy adventures, and his special needs, read Joey Pigza Loses Control or the first book in the set, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key.  ( "Jill Savage", Las Vegas, NV <> )

Booktalk #2

Joey Pigza is a boy who bounces off the wall on any given day and at any given time.  It is now the beginning of summer and Joey decides to cause chaos like he normally does.  While his mom is away, Joey decides to entertain himself by playing darts.  Although he thinks he has terrific aim for the target he soon finds himself bored.  After throwing the darts like a "normal" individual, which by the way Joey has hyperactivity so it is hard for him to do "normal" activities.  He then decides to spin around several times before releasing the dart, once the dart is released it hits his pet Chihuahua and pierces right through his ear.  After Joey's mom finds out what kind of trouble her son is causing, she finally agrees to let him go visit his dad for a few weeks out of the summer.  Before Joey's mom drops him off at his dad's house, she warns him about his dad.  Joey's dad also has hyperactivity and is a recovering alcoholic.  Joey does not seem to care what his mom says about his dad, he just wants to visit his dad and have fun.  After arriving at his dad's house, Joey is very surprised to learn that his dad does not agree with Joey taking medication for his hyperactivity.  As you can probably guess, Joey's dad makes Joey stop taking his medicine.  Along with no medicine, Joey has to play baseball for his dad's team, but does Joey enjoy doing this with his dad?  You will have to read Joey Pigza Loses Control to find out.  After being with his dad for a few days, Joey is starting to second guess everything about his dad.  Will Joey enjoy the rest of his summer with his dad or will he wish he was home with his mom?  To find out about this hyperactive, energetic boy and his summer adventures with his dad, read Joey Pigza Loses Control.  (Andrea Fiepke, college student,

Booktalk #3

Before I had gone to special ed and got me new meds, it would have been impossible for me to sit still and make a list of good and bad things. I didnt have time for lists. I didn't have time for anything that lasted longer than the snap of my fingers. But after I got my good meds, which were stuck on my body everyday, I started to settle down and think.
So as I sat in the car, I asked myself what I wanted from Dad.
"I just want him to love me as much as I already love him," I said.
Mom listened then pursed her lips before saying, "Honey, I'm sure he does." Her voice sounded like she had a long list of other things to say but didn't.

Joey Pigza is a boy trying to make up for lost time with his dad who shares the same qualities as him and finds himself losing control. Joey's dad and mom seperated because Joey's dad didnt have his priorities straight and was an alcoholic. But this summer, Joey's dad has the chance to prove he's clean and a new man. You are taken on an unsuspected journey with Joey and his dad as they try to catch up in eachother's lives. Everything should go smoothly right? But when Joey realizes not everything seems so normal about his dad after all, events take an uneventful turn. Find out what happens in this contemporary realistic fiction book, Joey Pigza Loses Control by Jack Gantos.  (Genna Wrobel,, college student)

SUBJECTS:     Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder -- Fiction.
                        Fathers and sons -- Fiction.
                        Baseball -- Fiction.
                        Alcoholism -- Fiction.


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