A blog examining middle grade lit, school librarianship, education and many things bookish!
Saturday, July 28, 2007
The Garden of Eve
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
The Babysitting Wars
Kaitlyn, Maggie and Liesel are best friends. They have lived in Marshfield Lake forever, and each are known for something special. Maggie is a super athlete, Liesel is a great artist, and Kaitlyn is a fantastic babysitter, who just happens to have a bit of a competitive streak.
One day at lunch, Maggie invites new girl Nola over to their lunch table. Nola's from L.A. and you can definitely tell. Her clothes are always perfect and there is something competitive about her that Kaitlyn doesn't like.
Kaitlyn definitely decides that Nola is not to be liked when she not only starts taking over Kaitlyn's babysitting gigs, but is also seen nose to nose with resident hottie Topher Walker.
How far will Kaitlyn go to one-up Nola? How long can her friends stand her blowing them off in the name of competition?
This is a super cutie patootie title that is a breeze to read. It's chock full of tween girl issues like crushes, being grounded, and friendship. Candy Apple seems to be Scholastic's latest tween series. And with a cover like this, how can it miss? Each title is written by a different author. This one is by Mimi McCoy, and there are others by Laura Dower, Francesco Sedita, Lisa Papdemetriou, and Lara Bergen. Perhaps you've heard of a couple of them?
I know come the fall, these will be in the hands for 4th, 5th, and 6th graders at my school.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Do you remember what it was like to be eleven? Truly in the middle.
Sophie is so excited that it is almost Summerhouse time again. That is when Sophie and her extended family make the trip to the Jersey Shore. She gets to be with her cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents, and just "be". Last year Sophie's older cousin Colleen gave her pedicures, and they spent so much time together...it was great!
This, however, is a very different year. Colleen doesn't want to share a room, paint her nails, or anything. She wants to be alone. Sophie's little cousin Tammy is delighted to be sharing with "Soapy". Sophie is not so sure about all of this change.
Nor is she sure about the changes she is noticing in her dad. Or the changes between her aunt and uncle. Nothing is the same.
Summerhouse Time is a dreamy little story about change and family. Told in free verse, Spinelli must be calling to her own childhood. Sophie's voice is so authentic, and her feelings are right there on her sleeve. From her first real crush to her lingering resentment of her family's less-is-more philosophy, Sophie is a character that stays with the reader, and we are priviledged to share her eleventh summer with her!
A great choice for the thoughtful reader.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Kiki Strike: The Empress's Tomb
I have to thank Karyn for picking this up for me at BEA. I couldn't believe it when I realized that not only had I missed seeing Kirsten Miller in person, but I totally missed picking up the ARC as well. Ugh.
So. Kiki is back. All of the Irregulars are now 14 years old (except for Iris, of course, who is 11). We start the story with a bunch of animal releases in NYC and giant squirrel murals painted around town. The press immediately blames Kiki, but Annanka knows better...Kiki can't even draw!
The main meat of the story is Oona's this time. Oona has been keeping a secret from the other Irregulars. She's not an orphan like they all had thought. Oona knows her dad. He's none other than Lester Liu - crime boss and smuggler. Lester was never interested in having a daughter so he left Oona with some women from one of his sweatshops. All of a sudden, Lester is taking an interest in Oona...and her band of friends. He says he's gone legit. He says that he wants to be a philanthropist. He says he wants Oona in his life. And Daddy's also sending gifts...in the form of diamonds and designer clothes. It seems that he might just know his daughter afterall.
What do the other girls think of Oona's budding relationship with her dad? Can you say "traitor"?
Another adventure filled with twists and turns, NYC geography and history, wonky families, and girl power! The Irregulars are older now, and the problems get more sophisticated as well. To be honest, this was a bit of a slow starter for me. I was tripping over some language at the beginning. But once the story got into full swing, I was hooked once more! (Stayed up til 3:00 a.m. just to finish!)
I'm looking forward to the next installment! And I think these books would make an EXCELLENT movie. Can you imagine?
Sunday, July 01, 2007
I picked up this gem of a book at BEA this spring.
Floss, a.k.a. Flora, is having a birthday. When she wakes up, her mum, step-dad Steve, and half-brother Tiger (a.k.a. Tim) are in her room, giving her gifts. She gets five gifts, all wrapped in lovely pink and silver paper. Her mum always makes things look so nice. "Hurry up", she is told. Floss receives an outfit (a pair of jeans and a pink top with a koala on it), blue trainers with pink laces, gel pens and stationery, a pink trolley style suitcase, and a cuddly animal (kangaroo with a joey). Sense a theme?
Then Floss' mum drops the bombshell. They are moving to Sydney, Australia for Steve's new job.
The full impact takes a moment to hit Floss. What about her dad? She sees him on weekends and helps out at his greasy spoon cafe. He may not be as successful as Steve, but in Floss' eyes, he can do no wrong. But mum insists that Floss come to Australia, and she even makes Floss do the deed of telling dad about the move.
At the same time, she can feel her best friend Rhiannon pulling away. Rhiannon's not very nice, but Floss desperately wants to remain best friends. Even when Rhiannon is so mean to Susan Potts who seems pretty interesting to Floss.
What follows is a story of parents who don't always do the best thing, friends who aren't so friendly, chip butties, and believing in oneself.
Jacqueline Wilson is such a great writer for tweens. She really gets that stuck feeling that so many kids have. Her characters are authentic, and the story flows along effortlessly.
A fun summer read!