Transcribed from recording made on hidden micro-spy recording device. Subject: Mao (not his real name) age: 9. File: Barnett review 10-20-19-46. Indoctrination sequence begun...
Your Neighborhood Librarian: Ok, so Mao, here we have the The Ghostwriter Secret, the second of the Brixton Brothers books by the perilously undershaven Mac Barnett and compulsively undercapped Adam Rex.
M: Well I think that it's good, and the cover gives you a really good idea of how it is -- exciting, but also like kind of suspenseful. On the cover, you see them underwater in a pool with bullets coming down, and that is really suspenseful.
M: Because, well, I don't want to ruin anything if you haven't read the book...
YNL: But I have.
M: Ok well then because THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS IN THE BOOK!!
YNL: The bullets raining down on them in the pool.
YNL: And that's important to you because...
M: Kids do not usually get shot at in kids books! That part was great!
YNL: So, you're pretty enthusiastic about this book. Would you recommend it to other kids?
YNL: Well then listen, have you ever heard me talk about booktalking a book?
YNL: Really? Huh. Ok, well when you booktalk a book, you try in like a minute and a half to get someone to want to read it. Can you think of someone that you know of that might like this book? I'm thinkin'... Jacob, Jarrin, Jada, Jacques?
YNL: June! Ok, so you're thinking of June and you're thinking of the danger and adventure and goofiness in this book, and you have a minute and a half. Start by saying what kind of book it is, and maybe... whether there's humor in it or not.
M: Alright! Well...
M: Well, June, it's a very humorous detective novel in which they go to places that you you wouldn't expect to find gangs.
YNL: Hold on, getting a little ahead of yourself. It's a humorous detective novel. Then you want to say the main character's name, and say what kind of kid he is and how old he is. So your next line.
M: It's about a junior detective named Steve who does all sorts of crazy stuff.
YNL: "All sorts of crazy stuff" is a good start, but a little bit vague. So it's about this junior detective named Steve Brixton, and how does he go about solving cases?
M: He tries to act like a really good detective.
YNL: And what's his idea of a really good detective?
M: Well his idea of a good detective is... have you ever heard of the Hardy Boys?
YNL: Well June will have, so I'll say yes. So his idea of a good detective is the Hardy Boys - is there any problem with that?
M: No! Mostly. But there is one huge other problem. His mom has this boyfriend...
YNL: Wait we're getting away from the detecting thing. You only have a minute and a half to tell Junie why she wants to read this book, you can leave the mom and the boyfriend with the CHiPs mustache and the poor table manners for her to discover on her own. So what's the problem with idolizing... they're not the Hardy Boys in this book, are they?
M: No. They're the Bailey Brothers.
YNL: Bailey Brothers. But clearly we're meant to be thinking about... Thomas and Ed...
M: Frank and Joe.
YNL: What's the problem with using Frank and Joe's techniques to find the missing author of Steve's beloved Bailey Brothers detective novels?
M: Because their techniques are old!
YNL: Old. Oh. And their techniques might not be effective nowadays?
YNL: All those knots?
M: Yeah they're always tying knots! And Steve's knots always slip out!
YNL: But the Bailey Brothers give instructions how to make the knots...
M: They must not be very good instructions!
YNL: And throwing punches?
M: Yes, and the throwing punches isn't really how it goes. It's more sneaking around in the shadows.
YNL: So Steve tries to solve crimes based on the techniques of his heroes, but the techniques of his heroes aren't always that terrific. But does he prevail anyway?
YNL: How come?
M: Because he also - he uses their techniques combined with his own.
YNL: And when he's surprised by something, like he expects all criminals to have a limp and an eyepatch and possibly an accent, and then he finds that in fact the guys in the big crime syndicate are dressed like the Wiggles and sitting at typewriters in a warehouse, does he let that throw him?
YNL: Ok so: we have what kind of book it is, who is the main character, and what happens from there. I'll be June.
M: Hi June!
YNL (as June): Hi Mao!
M: I think that you'd really love this book. It is a humorous detective novel, and I think you'd like it.
YNL (as June): Ok. What's it about?
M: It's about Steve, who is a junior detective, who uses the techniques of the Hardy Boys, ever heard of them?
YNL (as June): Yes.
M: In this book they call them the Bailey Brothers. And he uses their techniques, but the problem is they don't always work, but he combines them with his own techniques, which he hasn't really figured out yet, but you know they're there.
YNL (as YNL): Something else about him?
YNL (as YNL): There's something about him?
YNL (as YNL): What else is about him? I keep poking your head, what do you think I'm hinting at?
M: And he's smart! He reads all the time!
YNL (as YNL): Right! You might want to finish up by saying whether it's illustrated, and if you like the illustrations, and if there are any other characters that are particularly good. So I'm June, I'm June.
M: I think that the art is good, even though it's only in paper and pencil. And also, if you like Steve because he's funny, then you'll like Dana his best buddy even better. Because she -
YNL: - he -
M: - he is like the funniest guy in the book.
YNL: Does it bug him when people think he's a she?
YNL: And you just did it, too!
M: And in the book it actually says, "Dana had grown accustomed, from being called a she, to doing a punch and run really well."
YNL: Wow! That's the best part of a good book talk! First you do all that junk that I said, but if you can come up with a quote like that, that is the way to seal the deal. And June would say, "Punch and run?! I wanna get me some of that!" Thank you Mao!
M: You're welcome Mom!
YNL: Uh oh, how do I turn this thing off?
Recording terminated 17:57:32 Subject (incompletely) indoctrinated as viral elementary school booktalker.