Back to School with Buffalo Brenda

August 14th, 2009 by

Buffalo Brenda by Jill Pinkwater

Buffalo Brenda by Jill Pinkwater

Yesterday, I learned that school has already started in a few states. My response to that was: WHA?!

As a supposed adult, I don’t get a nice, long summer vacation — unlike you lucky ducks. (For those of you who can’t wait to grow up and take control of your lives, you should know that’s one of the trade-offs for being able to, say, eat as much junk food as you want, or travel around on your own, or stay up all night. Sometimes I’m not sure it’s worth it!) Still, even as a working drone, there’s a pleasant, expectant feel to the summer, and I’m not ready for it to end just yet!

I imagine many of you probably feel the same way, so I wanted to give you something to make you feel better about going back to school. But unfortunately, my attempts to magically conjure up a year-long universal hall pass were a major fail. So instead, I’ve decided to introduce you to one of my absolute favorite books from when I was a kid — a book to remind you that the first day of school can actually be the start of an amazing adventure. Believe it or not, the book is called Buffalo Brenda.

Please DO NOT be scared off by the baby-ish title or the weird cover. This book by Jill Pinkwater is actually a smart and hilarious read, chronicling the adventures of two best friends as they wreak havoc and make a name for themselves among their classmates. (Not for nothing, their names are actually pretty memorable already: India Ink Teidlebaum and Brenda Tuna. Yeesh.)

Now, I’m not talking about deliberately disruptive pranks — nothing dangerous or illegal. No, that kind of piddly stuff is below Brenda and India. Instead, they lead a motley band of co-conspirators on grand missions for the good of the community. Which just so happen to always tick off the school officials.

I don’t want to ruin the surprise of what India and Brenda manage to pull off, so instead of describing the plot any further, I’ll just leave you with this sampling of highlights from Buffalo Brenda: mystery meat in the cafeteria, a school mascot delivered by the federal government, a detention sit-in, a sleepover on school property, and fried treats called “donuts from the sea.”

It’s almost enough to make you excited for school to start again! Almost.

— Karen

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