Wendelin Van Draanen is one of my favorite authors of children's books. She writes the popular Shredderman and Sammy Keyes series. She understands teenage angst and writes in a way that helps her readers understand it also. When reading some of her books, the reader will laugh until he cries and then just cry. She has written some of my all time favorite books for children: Swear to Howdy, Runaway and Flipped.
Flipped has two main characters: Juli Baker and Bryce Loski. Juli Baker is an odd girl and she is madly in love with Bryce, and has been since she moved across the street from him in the second grade. Actually, Juli has stalked Bryce since the second grade and Bryce wants nothing to do with her. Bryce thinks Juli is weird. This book is great for teaching point of view because the book's chapters alternate between Juli and Bryce telling their individual sides of events in their lives. Near the end of the book, Flipped flips, the relationship between Juli and Bryce flips, their personalities flip, also.
The book Flipped reminds me of my dog, Flip. Flip has flipped not like in gone crazy, but his personality has flipped. Janet's husband, Dave, rescued Flip. On his way to work almost two years ago Dave spotted a matted ball of fluff dodging traffic on Lower Buckeye Road. After watching the fluff ball almost get hit three times, he stopped his truck, got out and shouted, "Get over here!" Flip ran directly toward him and jumped into his arms. Dave brought him home, put him in my bedroom with Paco and they have been rival companions ever since.
I named him Flipflop because he had one ear that flipped up and the other flopped down. Now both his ears have flopped. It was obvious that Flip had not been cared for, and it seemed that he might have been on the road for some time. Everyone fell in love with Flip, even Paco, but he won't ever admit it. We made a slight valiant effort to find his owner with the emphasis on slight. He was taken to the vet to be scanned for a chip. Dave and Alyssa put up signs to try and find his previous owners. (Okay, there were only two signs and they were put up only on our block.) We all secretly prayed that no one would call for Flip.
I became Flip's "owner" because I offered to pay for all the vet and grooming bills. Also, Flip and Paco were meant to be best buddies, I mean rivals. I never really wanted one dog let alone two, but now I am so glad I have both. Janet was right, again, I needed a buddy to love, and every animal and human needs and deserves a companion. Flip has never been afraid of my chair and jumped in my lap the first time he saw me. He would lay in my arms for hours when we first found him. Actually, Flip is not "owned" by anyone. Flip is his own man, I mean dog.
Flip makes me laugh. He is obsessed with chasing things, especially, lizards. He talks to everyone. He talks to his reflection in the mirror. He still hasn't realized that his reflection is him. Flip is a bit of a knucklehead. But everybody loves Flip and that really makes Paco pissed.
Flip has flipped! He no longer talks; he sasses back. He is no longer a knucklehead; Flip is a noodlehead. (A noodlehead is someone that pretends they are dumb, but happens to be very smart.) Flip knows everyone loves him; he has become conceited. Flip no longer wants to hang out with me for hours; he rather be outside just in case something runs by. Flip's sweet, kind demeanor is no longer. As a matter of fact, the other day I swear to howdy that Flip flipped me off.
After moving into this house, the realization was made that something need to be done to keep Flip contained. There is way too much land to explore and Flip will travel far and wide in search of bunnies, prairie dogs, and lizards. Janet, Dave, Breann and Ben spent many weekends putting up a chain link fence and planting a lush yard to keep Flip in and happy. Caren even helped dig ditches for the sprinkler system. After spending over two thousands dollars on fencing, sprinkler parts, grass and plants just to keep Flip contained, Flip found many ways to get out of the fenced area. So Janet dug down around the entire length of the fencing and placed bricks underground, so he couldn't dig out. Yahoo, flip was contained. WRONG! He climbs under the gate right by my door. There is no digging to place bricks because the gate is over cement. Whenever I see Flip out chasing lizards, I go out and call him and he comes back and crawls back under the gate with his head lowered in shame. But not anymore, when I call him he comes to the gate and lays on the sidewalk just outside the gate and glares at me. No more head hung in shame, just that "Ha! What are you going to do about it?" look. (That look that teenagers give their parents.) Recently, I caught him scooting through his escape hatch and shouted, "Whoa, Buddy, get back here, NOW!" Flip backed out of his escape hatch, turned and gave me that "look", walked directly to the escape hatch, lifted his leg and peed and peed and peed all over the gate. The ultimate flip-off.
Flip has Flipped! But I still love him, and he is a perfect fit in my amazing eclectic family.
I hate to be an I Told You So, but I told you so!
The Flip Side