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Friday, June 7, 2013

First Friday - Five Favorite Things - Debut Novel Day

Judy Press's Latest Book

by Dave Amaditz and

Marcy Collier

Welcome to June's version of - First Friday - Five Favorite Things - Debut Novel Day. In this monthly series, we ask five simple questions about a debut novel that will hopefully entice anyone reading this post to pick up the novel and read it themselves, and/or give them at a glance some insight into the author's writing style and voice as well as how some of the characters might think or act. We do this by presenting, first, answers to our Five Favorite Things, followed by the author's answers in a follow-up post.

This month we're pleased to highlight debut chapter book author and Route 19 member Judy Press’ chapter book, The Doodles of Sam Dibble.

Congratulations, Judy, we're so proud of you!

1) What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to the main character's development and/or growth?

Dave -With this particular passage, I believe Sam realizes what is really important in life. Warning, this could be a spoiler for some.

The person I admire the most is two people. The number two person is Demo Dan. He's the world's greatest wrestler, and when he has a match he climbs up on the ropes and jumps down on top of the other wrestler, but then he goes home and puts out fires and keeps people safe.

The number one person for me, though, is my grandpa. He used to be a kid, but then he got old. Now he is really old, like, maybe a hundred years old. I like the stories Grandpa tells because they're really funny. And when I get in trouble for doodling, Grandpa says it's not such a bad thing 'cause he got in trouble all the time. But the best thing about Grandpa is he is my family, and he's my best friend.

The End

MarcyI cleared my throat and looked down at the floor. “I invited Demo Dan to my party, that’s all. It’s no big deal. And he hasn’t said he’ll be there, but I know he’s coming.

Sam confesses to his mom at dinner that he invited Demo Dan to his birthday party. Even though his dialogue seems confident, his body language (clearing his throat and looking down at the floor) is not. The reader realizes that Sam is having doubts that the greatest wrestler ever will not show for his birthday party.

2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?

Dave - Sam is having a conversation with his best friend Robert and he's trying to squash Robert’s doubts about Demo Dan, the world's greatest wrestler not showing up at his birthday party. As Marcy mentions below, I too thought this could've been used to show how his main character grows and develops.

"What if he's got a match that day or his tour bus breaks down or he gets hurt and has to go to the hospital?" Robert asked me.

I shook my head. "Demo Dan won't miss it for anything because I am his number one fan."
And if he does, I'll be in the biggest trouble of my life!

MarcyI shook my head. “Demo Dan won’t miss it for anything because I’m his number one fan.” And if he does, I’ll be in the biggest trouble of my life.

This chapter ending could have gone either way for favorite cliffhanger or how the main character grows and develops. In the beginning of the story, Sam has no doubt that Demo Dan will come to his birthday party. But now that he’s invited so many people who are looking forward to meeting the star wrestler, he begins to have doubts whether Dan will actually attend.

3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why?

Dave - Grandpa Dibble is my favorite secondary character. He is so unbelievably quirky and funny, and it's obvious that Sam has inherited his sense of humor. Even with all those oddities, he'll stop at nothing to make his grandson’s birthday celebration worthwhile.

The following are a few examples of Grandpa's personality:

"Lucy is also very bright," Wax's dad told my mom. "Her teacher said she could be another Albert Einstein."

Maybe she could be a dangerous criminal and have her picture on a wanted poster.

"Did you say Al Einstein?" Grandpa said. "We used to pal around together. He was always coming up with crazy ideas."


"How'd you do it?" Robert asked. "No one's ever beaten Demo Dan."

"I got him with my secret weapon," Grandpa said. "It's the 'Grandpa Hug.' Those bums can't take all that loving. They cry like a baby and give up."

Marcy – Grandpa – my favorite character has to be Grandpa. He’s always there trying to help his Grandson, Sam, even though his plans usually backfire in a hysterically funny sort of way. There were actually scenes from previous pre-publication versions of Grandpa being over-the-top funny, but those scenes were eventually cut. I personally think Judy should do a take-outs version like they do in the movies of the scene cuts of Grandpa.

I opened the front door wide and saw Grandpa! He was standing there with a bowl on his head and a towel knotted around his shoulders.

4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?

Dave - I chose this particular passage because it gives insight into Sam's way of thinking, which as you can tell, matches exactly the way most young boys think. It lets you find humor in his seriousness.

Mrs. H. was in the back of the classroom helping Cookie with his math. Everyone was working on math except me. I had to write my report on the person I admire the most.

I didn't write it when I was supposed to. It was my birthday, and there should be a rule that says kids don't have to do homework on the weekend when it's their birthday parties.

Marcy Here’s the weird thing about Wax’s dad: He owns a funeral home and he hangs around dead people all day. When Mr. Baxter sees me, he always wants to slap five. But I know he just touched a dead person, so I tell him I just pooped in the toilet and didn’t wash my hands.

This line made me laugh out loud. How appropriate that Wax’s father owns a funeral home and Sam is completely grossed out by this. What’s worse is Sam’s Mom is dating the guy.

5) What is your favorite line of dialogue?

Dave - I think the following line shows perfectly the character of the antagonist Sam has to deal with. Wow! What a character. (And I promise, Marcy and I worked separately and did not share the results until after completing all five answers).

Wax stood back as his dad walked inside. "Happy birthday, Dribble," Wax said. "I can't stay long because I have a baseball game, and my dad said that's more important than your party."

Marcy – Wax stood back as his dad walked inside. “Happy birthday Dribble,” Wax said. “I can’t stay long because I have a baseball game, and my dad said that’s more important than your party.”

This line is so typical of Wax and his family who are often out for only themselves. And Wax isn’t afraid to repeat his dad’s words to Sam even though they are downright rude.  

You can find Judy at:

You can find the illustrator Michael Kline at:

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