Disappointed when his friend Lamont's mother makes him a silly Halloween costume, especially since Lamont always has the best costumes, Gordie is determined to find another costume--one that will be the most frightening and terrifying costume ever.
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Colleen McKenna was born May 31, 1948 in Springfield, Illinois. It was not long until her family moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where Colleen was influenced by Little Joe Cartwright and began to write her own scripts to the popular television show Bonanza. In eighth grade, Colleen mailed in her three best scripts with the intent to see them on television. Bonanza influenced McKenna, teaching her how to develop the sequence of plot. After high school, McKenna continued her education at Slippery Rock University where she earned a B.A. in elementary and special education. She furthered her education at Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh to pursue teaching. While teaching third and fourth grade at a Bethel Park Elementary School in Pittsburgh, Colleen married Frank McKenna III, an attorney, on March 25, 1972. Throughout her experience teaching, McKenna utilized her interest in writing to create plays for her classes. But, it was not long until Colleen and Frank had children, which led McKenna to put her love of teaching on hold. Together they had four children: Collette, Jeff, Laura, and Stevie. After the birth of her children, McKenna began writing children's literature when her husband left on a three month long business trip. To improve her writing, she took a children's literature course and learned that writing must based upon past experiences. Following the course, McKenna knew that her own children and family lifestyle was what she knew best and she would use her own knowledge to guide her writing. McKenna's secret to writing was to focus on character development rather than plot. According to an interview with McKenna, McKenna said that she feels the personalities of the individual character will create the plot on their own. Using her experiences and the techniques obtained from her writing course McKenna was able to create many stories that would appeal and relate to children. In the late 1980's McKenna began establishing her first set of children's books upon McKenna's own four children from the perspective of her oldest daughter, Collette.Throughout her writing career McKenna was able to achieve success writing about her family and the everyday obstacles children face in school and with their friends. After the completion of her first series, McKenna moved away from writing about her own life and wrote books to coincide with hit television show, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Four years later in 2000, McKenna began writing young adult novels once again. Today, McKenna's children are all grown up and she still resides in Pittsburgh with her husband. In her hometown she teaches at the Institute of Children's Literature. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.She is a strong advocate of reading and writing and aims to share her love with young children.From School Library Journal:
Grades 2-4--The Halloween theme may attract readers to this lightweight beginning chapter book. Things start to go wrong when Gordie's friend Lamont announces to the whole school bus that Gordie's costume may be a giant box of toilet paper. As one might imagine, Lumpy, a fifth-grade bully, has a field day with this piece of information. The child's day goes from bad to worse as he tries to convince everyone that he will in fact be wearing the scariest costume in the school's annual parade. To add to his problems, he has reluctantly agreed to hold hands with a first grader who vomited out of fear during last year's celebration. The only bright spot in the day is when Gordie learns that Lumpy is petrified of dogs. During the procession, he helps the boy confront his phobia when a loose dog runs onto the school grounds. Predictably, this resolves Gordie's conflict with his nemesis and a happy Halloween is had by all. While this story has humorous moments, it is thin in character and plot development, even for early readers. Children may feel a bit deflated by the fact that a cat costume is the best the young protagonist can muster up in the scary department, and the facile resolution of the bully dilemma probably won't ring true with those who have faced similar circumstances. For large holiday collections.
Rosalyn Pierini, San Luis Obispo City-County Library, CA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Holiday House, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110823416526