Sunday, January 02, 2011
Violet in Bloom: A Flower Power Book
Yassaman wants to launch a snack attack! She has been doing some research and has discovered that the Cheezy Nips that their teachers hand out at snack are really bad for you and filled with the kind of ingredients that lead to being overweight and having heart problems. She just needs to girls to help her come up with some ideas as to how to make their school a Cheezy Nip free zone.
Each girl is looking at the problem from her own angle, but each girl has something else going on in her life as well! For Milla it's her crush on Max. She's even willing to overcome her fear of his hamster to spend some quality time with him. After all, he's smart and cool and nice...Milla figures that is worth holding Stewy (the hamster). She even starts to like Stewy, and everything is going great until he gogo boot and Stewy get a little too close for comfort. Now she's mortified, still crushing and she can't look Max in the eye. The snack attack seems like a good distraction from her worries, so Milla digs into some research and finds out some stuff about the company that makes Cheezy Nips that really makes the girls want to get them out of their school.
For Violet, it's her mom. Her mom is still in the hospital dealing with her issues, and Violet hasn't even been to see her, even though her dad has asked her to go. Violet's just not ready. But when she gets called down to the office one day for a phone call, and her mother's on the other end begging her to come visit, what can she do? To make matters worse, Cyril was resting on a mat in the office and he heard the whole thing. Sure Cyril doesn't talk much, but he is always writing in that notebook, and while Violet was on the phone he was scribbling away. Just how much did he hear? And what if he tells?
Katie-Rose is stressing because Natalia keeps shoving herself into the flower friends. She has jumped on Yassaman's snack attack idea with vigor, even making cute buttons for kids to wear. Katie-Rose does not like how Natalia is always with Yassaman and seems to be trying to push her out of the way. Katie-Rose decides that she will be the one to make the snack attack idea work, no matter how over-the-top her methods may be.
Can these four friends put their own issues aside and get the job done?
Once more Lauren Myracle has written a friendship story that rings true. There is so much going on in the middle school years, and 6th grade is definitely a time of transition. The girls are passionate, but still trying to find their voices and their way. It's easy to be mean without meaning to, especially with friends, and Myracle gets it just right. The worrying, the loving and the anger. I really like how each girl brings something to the story, and I really like how they genuinely care about one another.
If you have any doubts as to whether food ingredients or maltreatment of animals are issues that are on 6th graders' minds, let me tell you that they are. The school where I work had significant cafeteria changes after a group of middle schoolers looked into the treatment of animals by a certain company. The school no longer orders from that company...and it was all thanks to the students!
Fans of the first book will eat this one up, and new readers will not have a problem getting into this episode of the story. The cover appeal alone will take this off the shelves, but readers will hand it from tween to tween and it may not come back to the shelf for a while!