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Slider Hardcover – September 12, 2017
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Jack-of-all-genres Hautman turns to the mouthwatering, madcap world of competitive eating...With crystalline prose, delectable detail, rip-roaring humor, and larger-than-life characters, Hautman gracefully examines what it means to be a friend, a family member, and, through it all, a kid trying to do the right thing. Readers will race to devour it, but like Papa Pigorino's colossal BDT pizzas, this infectious tale is a thing to be savored.
—Booklist (starred review)
This novel is laugh-out-loud funny and genuinely sweet. Though the premise of scarfing down pizzas seems silly, this is ultimately a meaningful book with insight into having a sibling with special needs and the general ups and downs that come with being a teenager. A fantastically funny, relatable book that will be an easy sell and a rewarding read for most middle graders.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Hautman (Eden West) is both funny and uplifting in this good-natured story of incoming high school freshman David Miller, whose chief talent is the ability to eat an entire pizza in under five minutes...Hautman offers lots of great takeaways about loyalty, friendship, and perseverance, wrapped in a wholly enjoyable story about a kid who, in the end, just loves to eat pizza.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
The first-person narrative explores the two brothers' relationship in a nuanced way...David becomes more attuned to Mal's perspective and ways of communicating.
—The Horn Book
...the book could be used in group or classroom reads as it could foster good discussion questions.
—School Library Connection
Family relationships and buddy support are authentically drawn, and the bones of the plot are sturdy...the resolution is satisfying and readers will come away thoroughly entertained. Even if they take a pass on pizza and burgers for a couple of days.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Winning views of a family pulling together, of young people stumbling into adolescence, and of an entertaining if controversial pursuit, "reverse-eating events" and all.
Only an author as talented as Hautman could juxtapose eating contests with caring for an autistic 10-year-old.
About the Author
Pete Hautman is the author of many books for young adults and adults, including the National Book Award–winning Godless, the Klaatu Diskos trilogy, and Eden West. Pete Hautman divides his time between Wisconsin and Minnesota.
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On the diversity home front, David has a younger brother called Mal who is autistic. Mal is close to non-verbal, he does say, "Okay." But David has found that Mal will respond "Okay" even to nonsense words. David is often charged with watching his brother and helping him calm down after meltdowns.
I think a teacher could use this book as a read aloud as well. One of the competitive eaters cheats during the final eating contest and the other character does not give a standard textbook response. This could lead to a good classroom discussion about what he should or should not have done. It also may lead to some more research into competitive eating contests and the science behind them as well as a discussion about whether these contests should exist at all.
I was provided with an archiving ecopy, via Netgalley, in return for an honest review.