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Celebrated Author Dan Gutman to Visit Mendham Township Elementary School on Friday, November 21st

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Yesterday, London and Maddie’s backpack mail brought the good news that, through the generosity of the Mendham Township Home and School Association (HSA), the students at Mendham Township Elementary School will have the pleasure of a visit from celebrated author Dan Gutman next Friday, November 21, 2008.  According to the flier, Dan Gutman has “devised a wonderful mechanism for teaching social history while teaching a great tale.“  He specializes in taking readers on journeys through history where they can learn about significant historical figures, inclding several of their favorite sports heroes.  Dan Gutman, a New Jersey resident, says that he “doesn’t write about regular kids doing regular, believable kid things.  I like to get fantastic, over the top.  I like surprise endings and cliff-hangers.”  His books are humorous, fun and educational.  Prior to Dan Gutman’s visit, MTES classrooms will be provided with some of his titles for teachers to share with their students.  To find out more, you can visit his website:

London has been gobbling up the books in Dan Gutman’s My Weird School series (for early chapter book readers) one after another since Kindergarten. Miss Daisy is Crazy! Miss Coco is Loco!  Mr. Klutz is Nuts!  At Ella Mentry School, all the grownups are quite weird in their own strange way.  The main characters are A.J. (a boy who doesn’t like school) and his arch-enemy Andrea Young (who loves school and everything else A.J. hates).

Just yesterday, London brought home Dan Gutman’s The Million Dollar Putt  from the school library.  I have visions of London re-enacting the role of Nurse Annie Wilkes from Stephen King’s Misery on the day of the big event…”Dan, I’m your number one fan!”  Let’s just hope she’ll be satisfied with an autographed book.

As part of the event, Mendham Township Elementary School parents can purchase any of the following Dan Gutman books to be autographed for your child:

  • Nightmare at the Book Fair (Hardcover, $16.00):  “In Dan Gutman’s brand new novel, fifth grader rip Dinkelman hates to read but loves to play sports, so he was not happy when asked by a grown up to help set up the book fair.  While opening up the crates of books, he is hit on the head and becomes a character in a series of different books…and as he goes from a sports story to a science fiction novel to an adventure tale, his view of reading is changed forever.”  I’m sold! That’s the one for my second grader, London, right up her alley.
  • The Homework Machine ($6.00):  “Four unlikely fifth grade students are brought together when they each discover the homework machine.  Unfortunately, things get quickly out of control, and they are in more of a mess than they ever thought possible.”
  • Abner and Me ($6.00):  “Did Abner Doubleday really invent baseball, or is that just a myth?  A young child decides to go back in time and find out — with his mother!  They land in the middle of a Civil War battlefield, where they will eventually meet up with Union general, Abner Doubleday… and don’t worry, there’s some baseball in here, too.”
  • Mickey and Me ($6.00):  “Another book in Gutman’s baseball card adventure series.  Joe thinks he will be going on an adventure back in time with Mickey Mantle, but he’s in for a big surprise.”
  • Babe and Me ($6.00):  “Young readers are taken into the past world of baseball and Babe Ruth in this terrific story.  It has descriptions of the great games, including the 1932 World Series, as well as giving children a feel for live during the Great Depression.”
  • The Get Rich Quick Club ($6.00):  “The members of this summer club are a combination of boys and girls who come up with a money-making scheme that leads to a close encounter with aliens.”  That’s the one for Maddie, my first grade entrepreneur, who is always scheming to make a buck.  Over the past two summers, Maddie and London have earned over $300 selling painted seashells down by the seashore at our beach house in Bay Head, NJ.  I’ll plan to read The Get Rich Club to the girls at bedtime in December.
  • The Million Dollar Kick ($6.00):  “A young girl is given the opportunity to win a million dollars if se can kick a goal past a professional soccer star.”
  • The Million Dollar Shot ($6.00):  “After winning a poetry contest, a young boy is given the chance to take a foul shot in the middle of the NBA finals to win a million dollars.”  London says she’d like to check this one out from the school library next week.
  • The Kid Who Ran for President ($6.00) and The Kid Who Became President ($6.00):  “In these two novels, a twelve year old decides to run for President of the United States.  While having a great laugh, students will learn about constitutional amendments, the Electoral College, how laws are passed and how we elect our President.”

Autographed copies of a number of Dan Gutman’s My Weird School books are also available, including his brand new series My Weird School Daze, in which the whole gang takes on the third grade.  Sounds like our kids are going to have a lot of fun with Dan Gutman next Friday, November 21st…and for those of you who aren’t lucky enough to live in Mendham Townhip, New Jersey, you can check out Dan Gutman’s web site and even take the toughtest My Weird School trivia quiz in the history of the world.

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  • Prof. Tom Barthel
    4:07 pm on November 12th, 2008 1

    As the author writing the full and only biography of General Doubleday,
    I would be glad to be put into contact with anyone in Mendham who can tell me more about the General’s life there and about the building of Sumter House. Do you have any suggestions?
    My phone is
    in upstate New York near Syracuse


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