Monday, December 10, 2012

I Got a D in Salami

Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver have written a series of books for children with Hank Zipzer as the main character.  Hank has a learning difficulty which isn't named in the story, but sounds quite a bit like dyslexia.

I actually listened to the book on CD which is read by Henry Winkler himself.  He reads it like an actor rather than like a regular reader.  The result is quite comical. 

Hank is not especially good in school even though he studies as best he can.  In spite of his honest effort to do well, he ends up being laughed at and in trouble all the time. 

Hank's mother runs a deli.  She experiments with healthy foods, and has created soy salami. 

When Hank gets 3 D's on his report card and a letter from his teacher saying she wants to meet with his parents, between Hank and his friends, the report card ends up in the salami mixture which is going to be presented to a big buyer the next morning.  Hank and his friends come up with a plan to thwart the meeting so no one will become sick from eating report card salami.  Of course, nothing goes according to their plan, and the whole thing ends up a huge disaster which includes an Irish wolfhound and a dachshund named Cheerio.

In spite of the destruction of the meeting and penthouse suite, this turns out to be a turning point for Hank, because he ends up getting tested for his learning difference.  He will be allowed to learn in different ways so he isn't penalized for something he can't help.

If you want to have a good laugh, pick up this audio book.  Hearing it read by Henry Winkler absolutely enhances the story.  In my opinion ( a past teacher of two decades), I'd have to guess that Henry Winkler is writing from his own experience. 

Kathi Linz

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