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|Matthew meets The Man|
Author: Nichols, Travis
As Matt copes with freshman year, his first girlfriend, and the quest to become a drummer in a band, he confronts authority figures who slow his progress.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG+
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 4.0 Quiz: 150587
Common Core Standards
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Range of Reading & LEvel of Text Complexity
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Craft & Structure
Kirkus Reviews (12/15/11)
School Library Journal (02/01/12)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (03/12)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 02/01/2012 Gr 5–9—High school freshman Matt has his first run-in with "The Man"—the system of authority that keeps him from having too much fun—when his parents won't buy him a drum set. He is then left to his own devices to realize his plan to start a band and become famous. Fortunately, he has plenty of devices, including determination and ingenuity, to help him get what he wants. The teen's cocky self-confidence also gets him his dream girl, Hope, and a spot in the town's big battle of the bands. Even though Matt's group doesn't win, he shows what he's learned at the end of the novel when he advises a friend to work for what he wants: "Your problem is you let The Man run your life." Matt is a likable protagonist with enough brashness to appeal to reluctant male readers. His sweet, mostly chaste (they "make out") romance with Hope is the most developed relationship in the book. Matt's caring parents and gamer friends get less attention. Nichols writes in a snappy, conversational style; the plot moves as quickly as Matt's ever-scheming brain. Illustrations are a bit juvenile for this audience: one-dimensional figures have enlarged, round heads and dot eyes, reminiscent of Dav Pilkey's "Captain Underpants" series (Scholastic). A light, fun read.—M. Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY - Copyright 2012 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 03/01/2012 Stuck in a small Texas town whose only redeeming quality is that it’s a rest stop for bands traveling between Dallas and Austin, teenaged Matthew is a school-band trumpet player with dreams of becoming a drummer in a cool band. Unfortunately, even used drum sets are well out of his price range. His attempts to raise the needed money start with pawning his CDs and progress through working at his dictatorial uncle’s restaurant (where he is outraged to find that “some FICA thing stole like thirty bucks from me”), and are mostly cancelled out by a few impulse purchases and the newly discovered financial impact of dating. Still, Matthew perseveres, with the goal of entering a local Battle of the Bands and winning some prize money, and with some DIY wizardry and bandmates quirky enough to appreciate the innovations of necessity, he pulls out a decent musical act. Nichols (Punk Rock Etiquette, BCCB 10/08) captures the fun and creative energy of band membership in both text and pictures (thick-lined comics-style spot illustrations), and the climactic performance and makeshift drum set will both amuse and inspire readers. Unfortunately, most of the subplots fall flat. Matthew’s romance with Hope is more perfunctory than comically stilted, and the portrayal of his evolving relationship with The Man-from his resentment of seemingly arbitrary rules to his willingness to work within them to achieve his goals-is heavy-handed. Nevertheless, the put-upon tone, dry humor, illustrative style, and attention to the travails of adolescent life make this a quick pick for older Diary of a Wimpy Kid (BCCB 6/07) fans, with the band focus adding a welcome indie twist to a familiar setup. CG - Copyright 2012 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 03/01/2012 Meet Matthew Swanbeck. He is a more successful, more considerate Wimpy Kid. After a chance conversation with the neighborhood bad boy convinces him that he should follow his dreams, Matthew sets his sights on being a drummer in a rock ’n’ roll band. It doesn’t matter that he already plays the trumpet and can’t save what little he earns; Matthew wants drums. And in true rock ’n’ roll fashion, he won’t let The Man (i.e., adults) get him down. And truthfully The Man doesn’t. There is little tension in this comic story of boy versus world, despite the threat of The Man looming in the first half of the book. After some initial roadblocks presented by his frugal dad and the IRS’s intrusion into his first paycheck, Matthew actually shows that with some ingenuity and perseverance it is possible to achieve goals and win parental approval. Humorous black-and-white illustrations enhance the text, and this quick read should appeal to reluctant readers. - Copyright 2012 Booklist.