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Calvin Coconut: The Zippy Fix Hardcover – September 8, 2009


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Calvin Coconut: The Zippy Fix + Calvin Coconut: Dog Heaven + Calvin Coconut: Kung Fooey
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 440L (What's this?)
  • Series: Calvin Coconut
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books; 1 edition (September 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385737025
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385737029
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,409,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3–4—This book is bewildering. It's written to a very narrow audience, one that apparently needs to already know about Hawaiian pidgin. Newly independent readers will be confused as to why some characters speak as such: "Whose birfday you was talking about back at the store? You going to buy um cake and pointy hats, or what?" Also problematic is the use of some odd terms: one character calls another a "strange bazooks." Furthermore, there are times when Calvin's words don't ring true for a boy his age. According to him, Stella's eyes "twinkled like sequins"; and he instructs his pals to "run silent, run fast." What fourth grader speaks like this? There are issues of randomness within the plot, too; for example, Calvin's attempt at mischievous revenge on 16-year-old Stella, who lives with his family, backfires and forces him to make amends, but it is so bogged down in inexplicable plot distractions and exasperating language quirks that any accompanying entertainment value is utterly lost.—Alyson Low, Fayetteville Public Library, AR END

About the Author

Graham Salisbury is the author of Calvin Coconut: Trouble Magnet, as well as several novels for older readers. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Jacqueline Rogers has illustrated more than 90 books for young readers. She lives in Chatham, New York.

More About the Author

I hope what gives my books their sense of authenticity, other than the natural inculcation of the island physical and cultural landscape, which ends up in my sentences by osmosis, is my use of language. In Hawaii we often speak what we call pidgin English, a kind of tropical patois. For example, in Standard English one would say, "I am going home." In Hawaiian pidgin it would be, "I going home." A simple thing, but over the course of a novel it becomes a bigger thing, a part of a character's being. It resonates. Syntax, too, creates that feeling of authenticity. It comes to me naturally, thank heaven. I don't have to work at it because I simply hear it. If I had to fake it I'd be laughed off the face of the earth. So, growing up in the islands was my gift. My writing is just me spewing it back.

As for the work itself, I'm big on certain issues having to do with boys and growing up. I guess this is so because of my own fractured upbringing. Much of who I am is self-imposed. I am my choices, and I have chosen to walk a certain path. Important to me are such qualities as honesty, friendship, honor, loyalty, integrity, courage, work and passion. Life for anyone is a series of choices, and I hope that fact gets some play in my books. Luckily for me, I have made some good choices. It could have been different. I could have taken pride in the wrong moves, as many boys do. It's cool to be tough. Beating the spit out of someone is good for the rep. It's honorable to attack someone who "disrespects" you by, perhaps, accidentally bumping into you (Hey! You like I broke your face or what?). Right. I could have fallen into that mindset. But I didn't, and I lay all credit to that on one man: James Monroe Taylor, my high school headmaster.

At the end of my sixth grade year my mom saw the light - she kicked my sorry okole out of the house and sent me to boarding school. It was in the middle of Parker Ranch on the Big Island of Hawaii, and was the most precious gift she ever could have given me. I loved it. For the first time in my life I had something I really, really, really needed: limits. It was like being at boot camp. Mr. Taylor, as part of his training, took us into his home in small groups and lectured us on the good qualities of life, all that stuff that is now so important to me: friendship, honor, etc. Of course, it was my duty at that time to laugh it off. That fat old man was out of his head. But his words stuck, and because they did, whenever I was presented with a sticky situation I was able to fall back on that foundation and use it to make the better choice. My mother and Mr. Taylor. My hat's off to both of them.

In my career as an author, I've spoken to a bazillion kids, mostly in grades 6 through 8. It's been fun, truly. But I had an epiphany one day, and my newest creation, Calvin Coconut, came to be because of it.

I once spoke to a large group of fifth and sixth graders in a huge gymnasium, and was leaving the school, heading down the hall with the teacher who had invited me. "There's a third grade teacher here in our school who just loves your books," she said as we walked, "and she asked me to ask you if you would be willing to just stop by her class and say hi to her kids. They know about you, too, because she read them one of your short stories."

"Sure," I said. I'd never spoken to third graders. It might be fun.

Boy, was it.

The third grade teacher and every one of her students were literally glowing with excitement, having the AUTHOR in their classroom.

They gathered around, sitting in a semi-circle on the floor. I sat in a chair next to the teacher, who reached over and picked up a plate of cookies.

The kids all leaned forward, eyes bright as a thousand suns, rascally twinkles in them.

"Would you like to try one of the cookies we made in class?" she said.

I didn't, but I was on duty. "Uh, sure," I said.

She pushed the plate closer.

The kids did a magnificent job of stuffing back their giggles as I reached out and picked up a yummy-looking, but - I could tell -- very fake, cookie.

The teacher grinned and I played along and pretended to bite into it. "Bleecck!" I spat, and the kids roared, as if it were the funniest thing they'd ever seen in their lives.

And that's what got me: those beautiful, beautiful faces, all looking up at me in pure delight.

I ended up telling them a story of when I got stuck in a mass of mud, a story I love to tell, and they laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

I left that school a new man, and vowed then and there that someday I was going to expand my writing to include this group. Because I loved those faces and yearn to absorb that energy.

I also wanted to include this younger audience because teachers have told me many, many times that they just can't get their boys interested in reading. I know of their plight. I was one of those boys. I read only one book on my own in all my elementary school years: TARZAN OF THE APES, by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

So Calvin Coconut and I have a job to do. Call Calvin Graham Salisbury light, because I'm bringing real life situations and themes for discussion into every Calvin book, just like I do in my books for older readers. I won't get heavy, I won't get edgy, and I won't be gratuitous. None of this is about me. It's about every kid out there today who is just like the wandering fool I was. Besides the simple enjoyment of writing, my aim is simple: to build trust and turn boys into lifetime readers.

I finally became a reader at thirty. That's how hard it is to get some boys to read. I'd like to join all my very fine writer/teacher/librarian/parent colleagues in changing that a bit. Reading changes everything. Boy, does it!


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Frizzle on December 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My son and I really enjoyed this book. Although he is 9 and could read it himself easily, I read it to him at bedtime. The characters are well-developed and the story line was appropriate for a 9 year old. I am glad that I found the Calvin Coconut books! We read the ones we found at the library and bought 2 others from Amazon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Suehiro on October 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I am an elementary teacher and just read Calvin Coconut: The Zippy Fix. I LOVED it!! It's perfect for children between the ages of 8 and 12 who will easily make connections to this book and its characters. Calvin's experiences teach children about having good character; responsibility, perseverance, caring, respect, integrity, and self-discipline. Being that its setting is Hawaii, children from all over can get a taste of the culture through authentic situations. Graham Salisbury has captured the heart and mind of Calvin and draws the reader into Calvin's world. This book would also be engaging for younger children as a fun read-aloud. Lots of great conversations will flow while reading the book. Calvin Coconut books will get children hooked on reading and have them asking for more!

Graham Salisbury's books are all outstanding and draw children into the world of books and a love of reading!
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By Jay on January 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My grandson loved it and that is what matters to me. He is following the Calvin Cucunut series of books and this was one of a few her has already read.
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Format: Hardcover
Graham Salisbury's CALVIN COCONUT: THE ZIPPY FIX receives Jacqueline Rogers' fine drawings and tells of a fourth grader who lives near the beach in Hawaii. His babysitter teases him all the time and he decides to stop it - with disastrous effects. A fun story of zany encounters accompanies a story of growing up in Hawaii.
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