Calvin is the smallest guy in his high school, and a perfect target for Rozelle and her girl gang. His mother is dead, his father is long gone and his only remaining relative, his grandmother, is getting too sick to run her dry cleaning business. The only time Calvin feels in control is when he's working his yo-yo. When he takes up street performing, Rozelle demands a cut and insists on being his manager. To get media attention, she markets him as a yo-yo genius who can predict the future, dubbing him the "Yo-Yo Prophet." Calvin begins to believe his own hype, but as Gran's condition deteriorates, he realizes that it will take more than fame and adulation to keep his family intact.
Karen Krossing grew up in Thornhill, Ontario, with a family who loved to read. She is a writing instructor at Centennial College and teaches an after-school writing program for kids and teens through Pegasus Studios in Toronto. She led workshops at the 2003 Canadian Children's Book Camp in Toronto and was on tour with TD Canadian Children's Book Week in 2005. Karen regularly conducts writing workshops and book talks at Canadian schools.
Read an Excerpt
I can't resist tossing a few simple tricks—rock the baby, elevator, tidal wave. My hands whir, my arms loosen up. I've only practiced at home, but this feels pretty fine. I take up more of the sidewalk. People weave around me, staying clear of the yo-yo as it extends and then glides back. There's only me and the yo-yo working with the noise and confusion of the street corner.
The Yo-Yo Prophet 4 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
Watch out, teachers--you'll soon see yo-yos showing up in your classrooms after students read this delightful book. Calvin is a nobody at school, pushed around by Rozelle and her mean-girl friends. His grandmother is selling her dry cleaning business to a man Calvin thinks is a bit shady and she hasn't starting looking for a new place for the two of them to live. When Calvin realizes people might pay to watch him perform tricks with his yo-yo, he finds an outlet for his frustration and despair. But Rozelle demands to be his manager and takes the money he earns. You will root for the protagonist, hoping he stands up to the bully and also gets to the bottom of his grandmother's reluctance to move forward with life in the way Calvin wants her to. A fast-paced read which will appeal to all readers.
andreablythe on LibraryThing
25 days ago
Yo-Yoing is a much needed balm and relaxing hobby in Calvin's life. Abandoned by his father after his mom died, he lives with his grandmother, who is growing ill and a little senile. On top of that he is puny and the target for Rozelle and her tough girl gang. But it's yo-yoing where Calvin finds peace, or at least it was until he tests out street performing and finds himself caught up by Rozelle, who insists on being his manager. This was a light, engaging read, which had a clean weave of subplots. Calvin is an interesting character, a genuine nice guy and average high school kid with a variety of frustrations that he has to face. There's no big revelations here, no mad, high tension adventures, no overwrought romance, merely a kid dealing with real problems and overcoming them.
EdGoldberg on LibraryThing
25 days ago
Calvin, a gawky ninth grader, loves yo-yos but thinks if people knew they would think him weird. When he spontaneously performs a yo-yo routine on a street corner passers-by enjoy it, one person giving him money. Rozelle, a big girl who has bullied him for eons sees the act and informs him that she is now his `manager¿, from which he has no recourse. During a performance he makes a comment which Rozelle revises into a `prophecy¿. She dubs him the Yo-Yo Prophet. Under Rozelle¿s guidance Calvin beefs up his act and appearance. She arranges a competition between Calvin and the local yo-yo champion, Black Magic. Calvin¿s popularity soars until Sasha, one of Rozelle¿s posse, informs the media about how Calvin¿s prophecies actually come to fruition. An underlying story concerns the failing health of Calvin¿s grandmother, with whom he lives. Calvin¿s father ran away six years earlier, after the death of his mother from cancer. Calvin has nowhere to turn as his grandmother¿s condition worsens.The title and cover art will attract middle school boys to The Yo-Yo Prophet. The story is hard to believe at times, which will probably not bother readers. Calvin is a mixed up teen, unsure of himself and unable to come to grips with the seriousness of his grandmother¿s condition. As a result he makes irresponsible decisions. The ending is pat, sweet and unsatisfying. Readers not familiar with yo-yo tricks might find the descriptions tedious. However, boys might be taken with yo-yos. Give it a try.
livebug on LibraryThing
25 days ago
Calvin is a ninth-grade loser, invisible at best and a target at worst during school, and a victim of circumstance at home -- his mother is dead, his father is absent, and his grandmother is sick. Unexpectedly, his quirky talent with a yo-yo leads first to social acclaim -- a "queen bee" girl from school signs on as his manager, kids want to learn from him -- and then to social disaster as his initially shaky confidence turns to hubris. On the home front, Calvin's grandmother is getting sicker, she has sold her dry-cleaning business to a questionable character, and his dependable neighbor is moving away. On a tightrope without a safety net, Calvin needs to keep it all together or watch as it all comes crashing down. I very much enjoyed the story and the writing in this book. However, this was a very quick read; perhaps too much so. I felt that the story unfolded too quickly -- Calvin's journey from pariah to rock star happens over the course of only a few chapters; the character of Rozelle, his bully/manager/rescuer is painted in such broad strokes that it's hard to see why, exactly, she is intimidating or influential or even successful, ultimately. I'd have loved to see it 75 pages longer, with the character and story development it deserves.With the exception of a few instances of graphic language, this is a definite middle-school hit. I'd recommend it for older fans of books like The Strange Case of Origami Yoda.
kimpiddington on LibraryThing
25 days ago
Children will enjoy the descriptions of the tricks Calvin throws while rooting for him to overcome the obstacles in his path.
Prop2gether on LibraryThing
25 days ago
A boy who is an outsider because of his size, his mixed heritage, and lots of angst about his parents (his mother died, his father fled), and a very ill grandmother--discovers his talent for yo-yoing can change his life. This novel was a quick read, and would be a draw for reluctant readers and middle schoolers. Calvin is in the ninth grade, a cross-over grade between middle school and high school, and he has lots of issues. The story was a bit tweaked to end well, but is very entertaining for its target audience.
elissajanine on LibraryThing
25 days ago
I enjoyed this fast-paced coming-of-age story about Calvin Layne, who goes from invisible to infamous for his yo-yo tricks and touted ability to predict the future. Calvin's struggles with his absent father, his sick grandma, and his overbearing manager all keep the conflict rolling along, and I can see this being a great fit for middle school students and reluctant readers. As a middle school teacher, I didn't find the language in this book to be objectionable for the age level, and I think the quick pacing and realistic conflicts will hold interest for most readers in that category.
ShelleyDaugherty on LibraryThing
25 days ago
Every boy dreams of being something a little bit more than average. Calvin has had a run of dumb luck with things on the home front and is left living with his grandmother above her dry-cleaning shop. He is also little more than a speck in the bullies eyes in his high school. So what is it that Calvin can do that can make him special? Well Calvin can throw a mean yo-yo! When he decides to try his luck on the street corner he finds that it is not only him that sees he is talented. Unfortunately, so does the school bully and she assigns herself as his manager. As she starts to change the routine and add a little bit of prophecy into the mix, Calvin feels more and more at odd with going along with her plans. But there is one part that Calvin can't turn down, he finally feels like someone; and it feels good! Surrounded by a multitude of other problems; Calvin forgets everything while he spins his yo-yo. But everything else will soon catch up with Calvin and it may be too late to fix them. This book was wonderfully written and keeps the reader glued to the page to find out what could happen next in Calvin's roller coaster ride to fame. You can't help but identify with Calvin and his need to be seen as someone other than a face in the crowd. You root for him when he finally gets noticed and feel the pressure as he backs down to the school bully. This is a realistic fiction swings the real right in your face as it deals with the issues in Calvin's life such as his grandmother's declining health, their need to find a apartment before they are evicted, his missing father, and school bullies. You are drawn into Calvin's world by the first person writing style and you are not only an observer, you are Calvin. There were a few cases of language that I could have done without but otherwise a good read! Great book for kids age 11 - up.
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