Blogging Features · Middle Grade Monday

Middle Grade Monday | 07/13/15 | Disastrous Character Names

middle grade monday 4

Middle Grade Monday is a weekly meme started by Jordan’s Jewels where you find a local market and search for magic beans… nope. That’s not right. Let’s try again. Middle Grade Monday is a weekly list where you share your love of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches…. No! No! No! One More time: Middle Grade Monday is a special event, hosted every Tuesday by Jordan’s Jewels, where you pretend to fight ancient warriors of death in your backyard. Oh I give up. There is no way of making this sound interesting. Middle Grade Monday is a weekly meme stared by Jordan’s Jewels where you follow a weekly topic to discuss middle grade fiction. If you would be interested in discussing wizards, evil fairy-godmothers, unusual names for pens or Greek gods, please check it out!

This week on MGM we will be discussing Disastrous Character Names such as Peeta Melark from The Hunger Games (Poor Josh Hucherson, I don’t think he realized he would be known as a character named after bread) or Dudley Dursley from Harry Potter… although he deserves it. If you would like to join in with your own list please continue to the bottom of this post for more information.

*Disclaimer: My opinions on these names are my own and aren’t meant to be rude.

59075) Benedict Cumberbatch from The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

I find this hilarious… but unfortunate. The living breathing Benedict Cumberbatch plays in a small series (you might have heard of it) called Sherlock on BBC and one of his cast members plays Bilbo Baggins in the blockbuster (Hobbit) films. I wonder if Tolkien was kinned to Raven Simone (and thought this name choice was a good idea) or simply assumed no one would ever name their child this.

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
Written for J.R.R. Tolkien’s own children, The Hobbit met with instant critical acclaim when it was first published in 1937. Now recognized as a timeless classic, this introduction to the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf, Gollum, and the spectacular world of Middle-earth recounts of the adventures of a reluctant hero, a powerful and dangerous ring, and the cruel dragon Smaug the Magnificent. The text in this 372-page paperback edition is based on that first published in Great Britain by Collins Modern Classics (1998), and includes a note on the text by Douglas A. Anderson (2001). Unforgettable!

9885944) Katie Kazoo from Katie Kazoo Switcheroo by Nancy Krulik

Katie Kazoo is named after an “instrument” kids get at birthday parties. Where the series itself is quirky I find this name choice especially absurd. Everyone needs a “catch,” something to get their book(s) noticed, but Kazoo??? Really?

Katie Carew, nicknamed Katie Kazoo by the class bully, had no idea what would happen when she wished that she could be anyone but herself. But now her wish has come true, and-switcheroo!-she keeps turning into other people and even animals! What is one ordinary third-grade girl with a really extraordinary problem to do? It’s a good thing Katie is resourceful and smart enough to find a solution for every problem . . . no matter how much of a disaster she causes!

Katie can’t stand George, the class bully. He constantly picks on everyone, but he really torments Katie. One day, she can’t stand it anymore, and she wishes she could be anyone but herself. What she doesn’t see is the shooting star that flashes through the sky at that moment . . . catapulting Katie into a crazy series of adventures, starting the next day when she turns into the class hamster! Will she be trapped in a glass cage forever? Will she ever be a girl again?



178027273) Edgar & Allen Poe from The Tell-Tale Start by Gordon McAlpine

The title and synopsis say it all… there are misadventures, deep questions, license plate clues, a cat named Roderick Usher, and two twins whose parent’s thought naming their children after the disturbed writer of The Raven was a good idea.

Meet Edgar and Allan Poe — twelve-year-old identical twins, the great-great-great-great-grandnephews of Edgar Allan Poe. They look and act so much alike that they’re almost one mischievous, prank-playing boy in two bodies. When their beloved black cat, Roderick Usher, is kidnapped and transported to the Midwest, Edgar and Allan convince their guardians that it’s time for a road trip. Along the way, mayhem and mystery ensue, as well as deeper questions: What is the boys’ telepathic connection? Is Edgar Allan Poe himself reaching out to them from the Great Beyond? And why has a mad scientist been spying on the Poe family for years?

With a mix of literary humor, mystery, a little quantum physics, and fun extras like fortune cookie messages, letters in code, license plate clues — and playful illustrations thoughout — this series opener is a perfect choice for smart, funny tweens who love the Time Warp Trio, Roald Dahl, and Lemony Snicket.

9306122) Stink from Judy Moody by Megan McDonald

I love Judy Moody. I spent many summer days reorganizing my massive collection of McDonald books, shaking my head because I knew I would never finish them all (I was right. I’m so far behind I lost all of my thrill points….) Looking back I loved each book. They were colorfully written. I tried my very hardest to use Judy Moody’s vocabulary in my daily conversations but it was never authentic.

“Judy Moody was in a mood. Not a good mood. A bad mood. A mad-faced mood.”

To start, Judy Moody doesn’t have high hopes for third grade. Her new desk won’t have an armadillo sticker with her name on it. Her new classroom will not have a porcupine named Roger. And with her luck, she’ll get stuck sitting in the first row, where Mr. Todd will notice every time she tries to pass a note to her best friend, Rocky. An aspiring doctor, Judy does have a little brother who comes in handy for practicing medicine, a cool new pet, and a huge Band-Aid collection.

Judy also has an abundance of individuality and attitude, and when Mr. Todd assigns a very special class project, she really gets a chance to express herself! Megan McDonald’s spirited text and Peter Reynolds’s wry illustrations combine in a feisty, funny first chapter book for every kid who has ever felt a little out of sorts.

But I always disliked Stink. First for his name (first impressions are everything!) and, after rereading Judy Moody Get’s Famous for the billionth time, I realized I didn’t like his attitude either. Now that I am older, I realize the name actually suits the character (for both his attitude and his inability to take showers regularly) but it is, literally, a disastrous name!

912441)  Beezus Quimby from Ramona by Beverly Clearly

Shame on the Quimby’s! I feel terrible for Beezus. Her last name is bad enough… but her first name. Can you imagine going through life with a name like that?

Nine-year-old Beezus Quimby has her hands full with her little sister, Ramona. Sure, other people have little sisters that bother them sometimes, but is there anyone in the world like Ramona? Whether she’s taking one bite out of every apple in a box or secretly inviting 15 other 4-year-olds to the house for a party, Ramona is always making trouble–and getting all the attention. Every big sister can relate to the trials and tribulations Beezus must endure. Old enough to be expected to take responsibility for her little sister, yet young enough to be mortified by every embarrassing plight the precocious preschooler gets them into, Beezus is constantly struggling with her mixed-up feelings about the exasperating Ramona.

Thank you for reading. If you would care to join in on this week’s discussion, please talk with my assistant, Mr. Link Gately- but don’t mention his name… he is very sensitive.



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