We had a great discussion at our "Wimpy/Wumpy" meeting last Thursday. We were 50-50 on the picture book...half liked it, the other half - not so much. But when we started talking about the fact that it was published in 1970, many of the 'non-likers' changed their opinion a bit, since it was unique for its time and, in fact, portended things to come....probably very 'dystopian' before that word was even part of our vocabulary.
As for the novel, there were also mixed feelings (which is what makes our group so much fun!). Some thought it was terrific for getting kids - especially young middle school boys - into reading 'real' books. Others thought it was basically worthless, and that kids should be reading more 'excellent' literature, with characters you care about, significant stories, etc. Our discussion ultimately led into the books we all loved as kids, and their merits (or demerits -- as the case may be!) It was a great group meeting, as usual.