Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key
Jack Gantos' book about Joey Pigza is both heartwarming and frustrating. Joey has behavioral problems and is ultimately diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The heartwarming part is that Joey is such a good kid. The story is told from his point of view and you slowly come to understand how and why he does the crazy things he does. He literally cannot help himself.
His life has also been a hard one, though you won't catch him complaining much. His grandmother mistreated him and his mother briefly walked out on him, while his father was never around.
The frustrating part is what happens in the schools. There's a great deal of realism in the book and I understand the frustration of the teachers, but at the same time, they frustrate me. I wish that they could do more. I wish that they could see the world, however briefly, through Joey's eyes. At the same time, I understand that they really can't do much more than they are doing and that their hands are as tied as Joey's.
The story ends on a very upbeat, promising note. Joey is finally on the right kind of medication and is going back to "regular" school. When the mother of a handicapped child says to him, "You know, Joey, the medication has helped you settle down, but you have been a good kid all along. You are naturally good. I hope you know that about yourself. You have a good heart," Joey has to wipe a tear away. That's the hope and the frustration all rolled into one, in my eyes. There's a lot of great kids out there who are trapped by situations and problems that they can't control.
I recommend this book for parents of ADD sufferers, as well as the children themselves. It's also great reading for teachers (and could, perhaps, be read in class so that other children understand what's going on). The targeted age group is 8-12.
Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key is a good book for children ages 8-10. I had to read this book in 6th grade for my AT reading class and I thought it was a little beneath everyone in there. But, I think everything else about it was pretty good except for some parts which might gross some people out like when he swallows a key then pulls it out with bits of already chewed food on it or when he accidentaly cut off the tip of his classmate's nose. Overall, it was O.K.
If you are looking for a book to read to your classroom or your child, or just want to laugh-this is the book!! It is the hilarious story of a boy who just cannot control himself. It is even funnier if you know a kid like this or are a kid like this. Very easy to picture the messes he gets himself into! If you are going to read it to your class, I would wait till the end of the year, otherwise you will have kids imitating him all year long and it gets rather annoying. "Can I get back to you on that?"
Joey is a child dealing with ADHD. Sometimes what he does is wrong. He knows its wrong, but just can't seem to stop himself. Sometimes he feels as if he's under control of someone else.
This book is a perfect read for any child, but especially those dealing with ADHD. Many can relate with the first person narrative of Joey and how he feels out of control.