Dear Mrs. Parks,
There are not too many memories my brain has managed to retain from third grade. I remember portraying Witchy-Pot-Pie, the evil villain, in our fairy tale class play. I recall getting a recently sharpened pencil thrown at my face, leaving a lead scar that still remains today. I remember having to put together a project on a former U.S. president, and subsequently, being mildly obsessed with Theodore Roosevelt for several months after my presentation.
And then, distinctly, I remember my beloved teacher, Mrs. Agy, introducing your book, Skinnybones to the class. The image of her reading aloud the story of Alex Frankovitch, midget baseball comedian, almost crying with laughter as the rest of us attempted to keep from falling out of our seats, will forever remain imprinted upon my mind.
Immediately after Mrs. Agy finished the last page of your book, I vowed that I would check out Skinnybones from our school library that very afternoon. And I did, but not just once; throughout the rest of elementary school, I must have read the book at least five or six times. I love the way Alex views life: even at the worst of times, he managed to amuse himself and me, and usually his friends, teachers, and parents, too.
I have never been a funny person. Nevertheless, I have always loved to laugh, and have always enjoyed reading books that make me laugh. Your book has made me laugh until I've cried, until my sides have hurt so badly I've had to take 'reading breaks'.
Laughter is a very important part of living; everyone needs a good chuckle every once in a while. Life can be tough. Granted, a nine-year-old being raised in a middle class mid¬western family doesn't have too much to worry about. However, the stresses of the moonlight skate at the rink, the student council representative elections, or the two¬-measure solo at the big choir concert, can tire a kid out. I needed that laughter. I needed a friend like Alex.
There are parts of your book in particular that really affected me - the Kitty Fritters, for instance. When Alex dumped that whole bag of cat food on the kitchen floor, and then made up that silly little story about the evil neighborhood cat being the culprit, without fail, I would nearly die of laughter. Then, there was the time Alex was convinced he was to grow into a munchkin; and the time he bravely handled the big game against T.J. Stoner by yelling 'Booga Booga'. It was all so funny. I could always relate, in some way or another, with the problems and situations in with Alex was confronted. I would never have handled my own problems and situations the way Alex handled them, because, again, I am not a funny person, but it sure did make me laugh to see the way Alex solved everything.
I have read a good number of books in my life, Mrs. Parks, but I would really like you to know that I have never read anything that has made me laugh louder, longer, or harder than Skinnybones. Thank you for bringing that laughter into my life and into the lives of so many others.