Monday, August 23, 2010

KEEPER by Kathi Appelt (Middle Grade)

The First Meeting of the Cryptid Book Club

Date: Monday, August 23, 2010

Location: Undisclosed

Members substantially present:

Bigfoot, Morzant, Briar, Beverly, Oliver

Member virtually present via video conferencing:

Penny C. Monster

Members absent:

Norman, Lenny, Violet

Meetings minutes taken by:

Penny C. Monster

Snack Master:


Book (selected by Beverly):

KEEPER by Kathi Appelt, with illustrations by August Hall (Atheneum-Simon & Schuster, 2010)


• Meeting called to order by Bigfoot at 9:30 a.m.

• Refreshments taken. Beverly brought Rice Krispies Treats. Bigfoot commented that he likes donuts. Beverly reminded Bigfoot that he is free to bring donuts when it is his turn to be Snack Master. Bigfoot replied that whenever he goes to the donut shop he receives such poor service that he is made to feel like he doesn’t exist. Morzant expressed fascination in the tensile properties of the Rice Krispies Treats and suggested the meeting time be used to perform some experiments. A vote was taken. The result of the vote was 5 to 1 against studying the tensile properties of Rice Krispies Treats.

• No previous meeting minutes to review.

• Members took their seats at the meeting table. There was a loud noise. It soon became apparent that Bigfoot had broken his pledge to not bring whoopee cushions to the book club meetings.

• Beverly requested, “could we please get on with it already?”

Beverly loved the book. She loved how the chapters alternated between the various characters, and how each character’s individual story eventually merged with the others. She loved how the story jumped in time—from recent past to distant past—gradually telling each part of the story in fragments. She loved guessing what had really happened to Keeper’s mother, and the other characters, and wondering how all the past events would come together. She loved the surprising way they did. She did not love when the book ended.

Briar agreed that the author did a wonderful job at revealing the story in mysterious segments, but explained that, as a psychic, it was impossible for her to experience that aspect of the book. Briar had been aware of all the book’s revelations before the author decided to write the book. What she enjoyed most were the chapters told from the points of view of the animals. She appreciated how those characters were as important to the story as the people. She also liked how they were not characterized as less intelligent than the people, but as “believable representatives of their respective species.” Her favorite part was how Keeper called licks from BD (Best Dog) “stealth kisses.”

Bigfoot thought the seagull named Captain was funny.

Oliver liked the adventure that Keeper had when she went out in the boat. He thought it was exciting when she was lost at sea. The meeting was paused while Bigfoot lectured Oliver against ever doing anything like that himself. When the meeting resumed, Oliver told about his favorite part which was when it turned out that the grown-ups still loved Keeper even though she made a mess of everything at the beginning of the book by saving the crabs. He also liked the short chapters and the illustrations—especially the one of BD wearing a life jacket. And now he’d like to learn to play the ukulele.

Morzant focused entirely on the mermaids and mermen, eventually leading the book discussion on a time-consuming tangent. Here is a partial transcription:

MORZANT: I just want to clarify a few things because Bigfoot said the zombies in the last book I read were made up by the author. Now this fictional book has mermaids in it and I don’t know what to think.

PENNY: Mermaids are real.

BRIAR: I have a second cousin who’s a merbeagle.

MORZANT: I see. And trolls?

BEVERLY: What about them?

MORZANT: Do they exist?

BEVERLY: Don’t be ridiculous.

PENNY: No, Morzant, there are no such things as trolls.

MORZANT: Narwhals?

BRIAR: I believe the plural form is narwhal.

BIGFOOT: Actually, I think either narwhals or narwhal is correct when talking about more than one narwhal.

BRIAR: Perhaps you’re right, but I really don’t think—

PENNY: Yes, Morzant. Those whales with the single tusk are real.

MORZANT: Rhinoceri?

BRIAR: It’s rhinoceroses.

BIGFOOT: Are you sure? That doesn’t sound right to me.

PENNY: They’re real, Morzant.

MORZANT: Unicorns?

PENNY: Extinct.

MORZANT: Are leprechauns real?


MORZANT: Fairies?


MORZANT: The Beast of Busco?

BIGFOOT: What’s that?

MORZANT: A giant turtle.

BEVERLY: Could we please get on with it already?!

MORZANT: Just a few more. Komodo dragons, Thunderbirds, and Bunyips?

BIGFOOT: Yes, yes, and yes.

MORZANT: Wolpertingers, Jackalopes, and Skvaders?

BIGFOOT: Hoax, hoax, and hoax.

MORZANT: Dingoneks, Mongolian death worms, Wendigos?

BIGFOOT: Yes, yes, no.

MORZANT: Kelpies, hoop snakes, Goatmen?

BIGFOOT: No, no, yes.


BIGFOOT: You’re kidding, right? Yes, of course Yeti.

MORZANT: Chupacabras?


MORZANT: The Loveland Frog?

BIGFOOT: You tell me.

MORZANT: Very funny. Bears?

BIGFOOT: Grizzly, polar, or Paddington?

MORZANT: Grizzly.

BIGFOOT: Is the Pope Catholic?


BIGFOOT: Do Rice Krispies go “snap, crackle, and pop”?

MORZANT: Paddington.

BIGFOOT: Does a frog have a watertight—

PENNY: Bigfoot!

BIGFOOT: Sorry, Penny. Yes on Paddington.

MORZANT: What’s so funny?

BIGFOOT: Nothing. Any more?

MORZANT: The Dover Demon?

BIGFOOT: Sure, why not?

MORZANT: Mothman?

BIGFOOT: We sometimes team up for bridge.

MORZANT: Furry trout?

BIGFOOT: Furry trout? Um. Not sure. Guys?

PENNY: No clue.

BRIAR: I’ve never seen one. Oliver?

OLIVER: Me neither.


MORZANT: Last one. The Veiled Snapping Reptilia?

BIGFOOT: What’s that?

MORZANT: An irritated half-invisible turtle.

BEVERLY: Real. Very real.

I then gave my opinion of KEEPER. I liked it very much and was impressed with how the author made me feel as though I was really in the ocean (which I actually was at the time I read it, but if I hadn’t been, I would have felt like I was). The description of the waves alone has the power to make a reader feel as though they are being tossed around in that tiny boat along with Keeper and BD.

Wrap up:

• Norman (not present) was assigned to be Snack Master for next meeting.

• Morzant (heaven help us) is to pick the next book. He asked if he could elect instead for the club to conduct a series of experiments on the tensile properties of Rice Krispies Treats. A vote was taken. The result of the vote was 5 to 1 against conducting a series of experiments on the tensile properties of Rice Krispies Treats at the next meeting.

• As Club President, Bigfoot issued a moratorium on Rice Krispies Treats at future meetings.

• Meeting adjourned at 11:15 a.m.


Kelly Bingham said...

Well, this puts me in the mood for reading KEEPER and for having some Rice Krispie treats! I have heard wonderful things about KEEPER and I'm so glad you have reviewed it here on your blog, Bigfoot. Thanks!


Bigfoot said...

I have noted that Rice Krispies Treats are quite sticky; therefore, I recommend that you don't eat them while you are reading KEEPER, especially if you are reading a library's copy of the book. Otherwise, you may incur a fine.

Murphmcb said...

If I bring donuts, can I come?

Bigfoot said...

Absolutely! As long as they aren't jelly-filled.

The Penny Monster said...

Bigfoot, what is wrong with jelly-filled donuts?

Bigfoot said...

There is nothing "wrong" with jelly-filled donuts. I personally don't care for them.