Review: Patina

Book: Patina (2017)
Author: Jason Reynolds
Genre: MG, Contemporary
Rating: 4 Stars

patinaBasic Plot: Patty hates losing a race. Or even coming in second. She also has a to-do list longer than your arm. She’s starting to find it hard to juggle her sister, her mom, her mother/aunt, school, and, of course, track. When Coach puts her on the relay team, she comes nose-to-nose with some unhappy teammates. Couple that with a group project where Patty is doing all the work while her partners take it easy. And then comes a family emergency that Patty never even anticipated. Something that might just threaten to keep her off the track for awhile.

WHAT’S COOL…

1) This is a continuation of the series with Ghost. In this book, Ghost is only a minor character. The MC is his newbie teammate: Patty (Patina). (And yes, we do find out in this one what happened in the race at the end of the first book!)

2) I was nervous about reading this book. Partly because Patty had the potential to be a Mary-Sue character. In the previous book, she doesn’t seem to have any flaws. But that worry melted away immediately. Maybe she was perfect in Ghost’s eyes, but once Patty starts telling her story, we get to see her faults… just enough to make her a human being we can relate to.

3) I loved the relationship between Patty and her little sister, Maddie. Actually, I love her whole family. Her ma, who no longer has her legs due to diabetes. And her uncle and aunt (Momly) who have legal custody of her. I enjoyed getting to know them.

4) The Coach was awesome yet again. He’s not in the book as much as he was in the last. But he has some great moments. I love the part where Coach Whit is teaching the girls to dance and Ghost and Lu? are laughing at them… along with Coach. Then, what Coach does next is priceless.

5) Jason Reynolds has talent for capturing voice. Patty’s voice in this book is unique to Patty, just as Ghost’s voice is unique to Ghost. (And I’ve already started reading the next book: Sunny. Ditto.)

6) The story of the dad is good. I like the cupcakes. And I like the scene near the end with the uncle and the cupcakes.

7) Another race at the end, but Reynolds does things a little differently this time. But I won’t spoil it.

8) Whoever does those book covers… I’m liking them. I like how each one is geared to each character. (Although, Patty really should have a baton in her hand.)

9) Finally, I like that you don’t technically have to read Ghost to enjoy this book. It really is Patty’s story and a stand-alone.

WHAT’S NOT COOL…

1) I don’t get why Momly thinks it’s okay to serve turkey wings every night for supper. Don’t they get sick of them?

2) The Momly-janitor story was a little odd. Not sure exactly if this backstory was needed.

FINAL THOUGHTS

My rating is 4 Stars (out of 5) – I liked this book better than Ghost and I’m trying to figure out why. Premise-wise, I think Ghost is a stronger story, but the pacing was off. (Ghost could have been a 5-star book, which is saying something.) Patina’s story is good, and the pacing and emotional beats are right on. I’m glad I gave it a chance!


YOUR TURN…

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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Photo Challenge #32 / Relaxation

20180405ma_2659
“Grandma’s Blue Chair” / Theme: Relaxation

A little about this photo…

This is my grandmother, relaxing in her blue lazy boy. This is HER chair. The spot where she listens to her audiobooks. The place where she takes her afternoon nap. Where she can sit back and relax.

The light makes everything look grey-ish. But I can assure you that almost everything in the room is blue, because that’s her favourite colour.


THIS WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is posted every Saturday. Please join us in posting your own photos with #2018picoftheweek

Quick Pick Reviews #9

Maid of the King’s Court // by Lucy Worsley (2016)

Maid-of-King's-CourtGenre: YA, Historical (Henry VIII)

My Thoughts: This is the story of Katherine Howard, who becomes Wife #5 to Henry VIII. It’s told through the eyes of her cousin, Elizabeth (but not to be confused with Princess Elizabeth, who eventually becomes Good Queen Bess.) It’s certainly an interesting look inside court life at the time of Henry VIII, especially interesting to me were the games the courtiers all played. The flirtatious activity among… well, everybody. This is really what gets Katherine Howard into trouble.

In the history books, there’s so much attention given to Henry’s first three wives. (This makes sense, since they are the mothers of his three children that became Edward VI,  Mary I, and Elizabeth I.) This book gives a little insight into his next two wives…  [3 Stars]


Crossing Ebenezer Creek // by Tonya Bolden (2017)

crossing-ebenezer-creekGenre: YA, Historical (Civil War)

My Thoughts: I thought I’ve read everything there is to read about the American Civil War, but apparently not. This book brought to my attention something new. (And I always love learning something new about history!) This story revolves around General Sherman’s March to the Sea. And joining that march were the newly freed slaves, courtesy of the Emancipation Proclamation. We get two POVs in this story: Mariah and Caleb.

I will have to say that I wanted to love this book more than I did. But for some reason, I did not really connect with either of the protagonists. I think this may have been due to the fact that there are too many other characters “cluttering” the story. Not that there couldn’t have been other characters. I think it’s important to the story to include the other people. But the writer in me wanted to combine some of them. As a reader, I was getting too confused! Who was who? The cover is also slightly misleading. I would have loved to see a row of silhouetted characters standing over on the other side of the water. (It IS a beautiful cover, though.)

This is a heart-breaking story. I won’t spoil exactly what happens. You’ll just have to read to book. [3 Stars]


Quick Pick books are always recommendations. (If I don’t recommend the book, it’s not a Quick Pick!)

Review: Ghost

ghostBook: Ghost (2016)
Author: Jason Reynolds
Genre: MG, Contemporary
Rating: 3 Stars

Basic Plot: Ghost is good at running, ever since that night when he and his mom had to run away from his dad. So, when he joins a track team, he’s good, but not as good as he thinks. It isn’t long before Ghost realizes that part of his problem is that he doesn’t have the right tools to be the best on the track. And in the world of track, the right tools means the right kind of running shoes.

WHAT’S COOL…

1) I love running stories, so this one was right up my alley! I liked the scene where Ghost first comes across the track team. And I enjoyed the peek into the subsequent training sessions.

2) The friendship that develops with the track newbies was great. I loved Patty and Sunny. Lu was a little weird, but I kind of liked him as well.

3) The Coach was just awesome. I like how he drives a taxi… I like how he connects with the kids. How he’s tough on them, and yet obviously enjoys what he’s doing.

4) I absolutely love Ghost’s voice in this story. It comes through beautifully and made me want to root for him.

5) Kudos to the person who designed the cover of this book. I love how Ghost is running so fast, that he’s running off the page. And we don’t even get to see his face!

WHAT’S NOT COOL…

1) The secrets they tell at the restaurant… Man! These kids hardly know each other and they’re spilling their deepest, darkest secrets. All of them. And then when they challenge their coach to tell his secret? I was like… what? That’s not even a secret. You let these kids reveal things (in fact, you even encouraged these kids) to tell you a secret and you pretend that your secret is on par with theirs? (Not that I think the coach should have revealed a deep, dark secret to these kids. Actually, I’m just a little ticked off at the author for making these revelations come with little to no work. It makes the secrets almost trivial. Where’s the subtext? Where’s the drama? Where are the set-ups and pay-offs?Why aren’t you saving to reveal true secrets for later on?)

2) The climax of the story seems to be the one with the shoes. [SPOILER] It’s a good idea for a climax. But I feel it was mishandled. This is where revelations needed to happen. This is where Ghost needed to be afraid that he had lost Coach’s respect forever. Then take that angst and drama and bring it to the track. [END SPOILER] Unfortunately, this is not quite how it plays out. Which is a pity.

3) At the end of the story… [SPOILER] Ghost is about to run his first race when he meets his arch-nemesis at the track. (This is in the FINAL pages of the book.) Here’s how Ghost puts it: “No way. No Freakin’. Way. He ran? He ran? By now you know who I’m talking about. Brandon Simmons.” Actually, Ghost, I had no idea that name was going to pop up here. I had no idea, whatsoever. [END SPOILER] This reveal just wasn’t set up. It just came out of nowhere!!

4) The ending was weird. [Possible SPOILER] There’s a big lead-up to the race at the end of the book. And just as we get to the starting line, BAM, it’s over. Not that I needed to know who wins the race. Actually that part didn’t bother me. I felt confused over what led up to that moment. In other words: the climax. It’s like it was all mixed up. Reynolds re-introduces the main bullies within paragraphs of the final sentence, and nothing comes of it! (See Spoiler above.) Like, what happened there? I want to know. [END SPOILER] Perhaps it was too short a book. I felt like it could have benefited from another chapter or two.

FINAL THOUGHTS

My rating is 3 Stars (out of 5) – This book started out as a 5-star book. I was loving it. Then it went down to a 4-star near the middle, for some minor plot points. By the end, we were down to 3 stars. Frankly, the end was a disappointment. It’s like Reynolds lost the thread of his story. I felt this book could have gone through another edit, to be honest. Perhaps several more edits. I love, love, love the premise. I loved the characters. I know there are some sequels. I’m not sure if I will give them a shot. Maybe one more shot?


YOUR TURN…

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Don’t you just love that book cover? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Photo Challenge #31 / Look at Me

20180707ma_3692“Mirror Shot” / Theme: Look at Me

A little about this photo…

Yes, that’s me. I’m at the Detroit Historical Museum. This is pretty much as close as I get to taking a selfie.

I love these type of museums! In this part, they recreated the Streets of Old Detroit. This is all indoors, which is nice for the air conditioning! Definitely worth a visit if you like history and you’re ever in Detroit, Michigan 🙂


THIS WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is posted every Saturday. Please join me in posting your own photos with #2018picoftheweek

Summer Reading Bingo Challenge / July

mgc-summerbingo-07jul2018

Middle Grade Carousel is hosting a Summer Reading Bingo challenge, and I enjoyed the June challenge, so I went back for the July one!

So, I finished thirteen middle grade books this month. I have to say that I found that this month it was harder to get my BINGO. I started off on one track, but then fell short on one title. I finally did it at the very end of the month, thanks to finding two books; one about Tia Lola and the other about Granny Torrelli. I love those two women!

And thank-you to Elza Kinde for first putting this reading challenge onto my radar!

How Does It Work?

Pick your challenge, grab a book, and fill in the squares. Try and get 5 in a row, or attempt to fill in the whole sheet if you’re a speedy reader.

Rules

  1. Because this is a Middle Grade Carousel challenge, all of the books on your Bingo board should be MG reads.
  2. Each square needs to be filled with a unique book. You cannot use the same title more than once, even if it fits multiple themes. Choose wisely!
  3. You should only be filling in your Bingo board with books you’ve read during June.

Here are my results… (The * means that’s the book that got me my Bingo!)


*Snow on the Cover

How Tia Lola Came to Visit Stay // by Julia Alvarez

how-tia-lola-came-to-visitFirst let me say how much I love Tia Lola! I also understand Miguel’s reluctance and mixed emotions about having her stay with them. Having a family member do things differently because they come from a different culture is hard for a child, especially one that craves to fit in with friends. And I think Alvarez was able to capture this very nicely. *He loves his tia, but…

Footnote: I’m a little weirded out by the “Visit Stay” of the title. First, it kind of gives away the ending. And it’s just awkward. Like what do I put as the title of this book?? I like the idea in theory, but in reality, I just wasted too much time on this unnecessary conundrum.  [3 stars]


*A Book About Food

Granny Torrelli Makes Soup // by Sharon Creech

granny-torrelli-makes-soupI love how everything comes together in this book. It’s almost like two short stories, but they do interconnect.

I have my suspicions regarding Granny Torrelli’s tales about the old country. They seem to match up perfectly with the situation at hand, so I suspect they may not be 100% true. (Although Sharon Creech doesn’t tell us one way or another.) I just think Granny Torrelli is quick-witted enough to be able to come up with her own granny-style fables to help out the youngsters in her life.

And can I say that this book made me hungry for soup? Yes, it did. (And I think this cover is adorable.) [3.5 stars]


*Pick Your Prompt // A Book About Immigrants

A House of Tailors // by Patricia Reilly Giff

house-of-tailorsI really enjoyed this one. It’s a historical novel, so what can I say… That’s always a bonus in my book!

The story is about German immigrants coming to New York City in the 1870s. I love how Dina and “the Uncle” fight all the time, and yet are so similar in their personalities. I love Barbara and little baby Maria, who are able to soften the Uncle’s harsh edges. And my favourite part of the book has to do with how Dina deals with the small pox epidemic. What’s doubly cool is that this part of the story is actually based on a true event in the author’s family history! [4 stars]


*Yellow Cover

Ghost // by Jason Reynolds

ghostThe potential for this book was so great. I wish I could give it a higher rating. The beginning was amazing. I loved the character of Ghost (Castle). I loved the storyline: the running, the training, the coach, the need for the right kind of shoes.

But then, somewhere in the middle of the book, it seems to lose momentum. Maybe it’s all the secrets that get told… way too early in the plot. There’s no lead up. The end isn’t as cathartic as it could have been. I felt this book could have used another round of revisions because the story definitely deserves it. (There are several sequels. I’m intrigued by these, but I’m also a little gun-shy now. Is this just how Jason Reynolds rolls? Or will the next books be better than the first?)

I do LOVE that cover. I love how Ghost is running so fast, he’s off the page 🙂 [3 stars]

*Note: I will be publishing a full review of this book soon.


*Talking Animals

The One and Only Ivan // by Katherine Applegate

one-and-only-ivanThis is a story narrated by Ivan, a gorilla who spent years on display at a mall where he’s billed as: The One and Only Ivan. Soon after the story begins, we meet the newest animal to the mall’s exotic collection, a baby elephant named Ruby. Seeing Ruby struggle, Ivan decides he wants to save her from his own fate.

I read this book after reading Wishtree by the same author. There are a lot of similarities. I wasn’t as enamoured with this story, however. I’m not sure why. It was good, but I’m not sure that it’s a Newbery winner. (It won the Newbery in 2013.) [3 stars]


‘Diary’ in the Title

The Clue in the Diary // by Carolyn Keene

clue-in-diaryThis is Book #7 in the Nancy Drew mystery series! I used to devour these books when I was a kid, so it was fun to go back and solve a mystery with Nancy, Bess, and George. And this is the book where we’re introduced to Ned Nickerson!

The version I read this time around is a reprinting of the original edition from the 1930s. This is the first time (that I am aware of) that I’ve read the original version of any of these stories. The versions I grew up with were the yellow hard-back copies with the revised text. So, in essence, I was reading this book for the first time! (Actually, truth be told, I don’t actually recall reading this title when I was a kid, so it’s possible I’ve never read it before, revised or otherwise.) [4 stars, for the nostalgia]


A Bike on the Cover

The Way to Bea // by Kat Yeh

way-to-beaThis is a book about a girl who used to have friends, but now that she’s in seventh grade, she doesn’t. She does meet some kids on the school newspaper staff, but she’s reluctant to respond to their overtures of friendship. And then she meets Will, a kid obsessed with labyrinths.

While I did understand some of the loneliness she feels, overall I found I had a hard time connecting to Bea. She was just so fearful. I also had a hard time understanding why they felt the need to break into a stranger’s labyrinth, a place they have no business being. Although the maze/labyrinth was pretty neat. I love the title, though… a nice play on words on her name! [3 stars]


A Novel

Dave at Night // by Gail Carson Levine

dave-at-nightSo, I remember reading this shortly after it first came out. It’s certainly different from Levine’s fairy tale stories, but it still has her touch.

Dave’s a mischievous boy, but at heart, all he wants is to be wanted. After the death of his dad, his step-mother doesn’t want to keep him. His uncle doesn’t want him. And his older brother doesn’t even really stick up for him. So, he ends up at HHB, the Hebrew Home for Boys. But for Dave, he’s not going to let a few walls and gates keep him from exploring New York City during the Roaring 20s.

A good book. Not as good as I remember it being. But I felt for Dave, and I really like his “Grandpa”. And I enjoyed the historical setting. [3.5 stars]


Set in the U.S.A.

Raymie Nightingale // by Kate DiCamillo

raymie-nightingaleThis book is set in Florida in 1975. Raymie’s goal is to win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition. The reason? To get her dad to come home again. She thinks the best way to win is to learn how to twirl a baton. And that’s where she meets two of the other contestants: Louisiana and Beverly. Together, they become the Three Rancheros.

Florence Nightingale makes an appearance in the story—sort of. Although, I found that part of the story line didn’t seem to pan out in a meaningful way. But the three girls really are delightful. [3.5 stars]


A Book with Pirates

Magic by the Lake // by Edward Eager

magic-by-the-lakeThe four children from Half Magic are back. This time it’s summer vacation and they’re at the lake where they meet a wishing turtle. And they end up getting magic by the lake. Not by the pound. By the lake.

While, not as good as Eager’s first book (Half Magic) or some of his later books (Knight’s Castle comes to mind), it’s still a fun read. I particularly liked the adventure in Ali Baba’s cave where the children succeed in reforming the thieves, only to… well, I won’t spoil it for you.

And there’s also a wonderful tie-in to a later book called The Time Garden. You won’t get the reference unless you read both books! [3.5 stars]


A Bug on the Cover

The Penderwicks at Last // by Jeanne Birdsall

penderwicks5I’m maybe stretching this, but there are lightning bugs on the cover of this book. But this also might be because of my true feelings for this book. I really hate to say it, but I DID NOT LIKE this book.

There, I said it. This is basically like one of those episodes on TV where they try to bring back every character into the story for some big event and everybody just says: remember this and remember that? I will probably have to review this book at some point to try to figure out why I didn’t like it. We’ll see. On the other hand, I might just try to forget it ever existed. [2 stars, yikes!] 😦


Black Cover

Wild Girl // by Patricia Reilly Giff

wild-girlI really enjoyed this book about an immigrant family from Brazil. The father and brother have come to New York State five years prior. And, finally, they send for 12-year-old Liddie to join them.

The book is a “horse book”. The father has found a job as a horse trainer and the brother is a jockey. The title Wild Girl refers to both the name of a new horse, and to Liddie herself (a nickname given to her by her now-dead mother).

This book definitely brought me back to my days of reading The Black Stallion. [4 stars]


Crown on the Cover

Kristina: The Girl King // by Carolyn Meyer

kristina

It’s been a while since I’ve read one of the Royal Diaries. This one was about a Swedish King (Queen?) named Kristina. She called herself a King because she was her father’s heir. At first, he thought she had been born a boy, but when the truth was revealed to him, he declared that she should be raised as a Prince. She inherited the throne at the age of six! (Although, she did have regents until she was of legal age.)

I found this Royal Diary sad, especially with regards to Kristina’s mother. Although, she does have a kind aunt who raises her, and (apparently) gave Kristina the diary. Not my favourite of the Royal Diaries, but I did find it interesting to learn a little about Swedish royal history.

And while she’s not actually wearing a crown in the picture, there is a crown at the top with The Royal Diaries printed over it! [3 stars]


Final Thoughts…

Those are my results for July with regards to Middle Grade books. I again thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.

Your Turn…

If you want to do this for the month of August, there’s a fresh Bingo Challenge. Check it out at #MGCarousel

Review: A House of Tailors

Book: A House of Tailors (2004)
Author: Patricia Reilly Giff
Genre: Upper MG, Historical (1870s)
Rating: 4 Stars

house-of-tailorsBasic Plot: Dina is coming to America. It was supposed to be her sister on the boat, but plans don’t always go the way you intend. When her uncle sees her at the dock, he isn’t happy. And the situation at her uncle’s isn’t quite what Dina was planning for either. She wants nothing more than to escape the life of a seamstress. The problem is that the Uncle is a tailor, and he expects her to help him as part of her keep. That’s when Dina decides she’s going to start saving her money so she can buy a ticket back to Germany. However it’s not going to be as easy as she thinks.

WHAT’S COOL…

1) History is my thing. And it’s been awhile since I’ve read a good immigrant story. This one happens to be about the 1870s in New York City. One of my favourite historical sites in NYC is the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side. While technically this story takes place in Brooklyn, I assume there’s a lot of similarities. So, it was fun to read a story that has a setting from one of my favourite museums! Complete with the sewing machine!

2) The Uncle and Dina go head-to-head. First, I love how he’s called the Uncle. Not Uncle Lucas, but just the Uncle. It perfectly encapsulates their relationship. Then compare Dina’s relationship to Barbara (the aunt, but always called just Barbara) and baby Maria, who give Dina the love and support she needs so far away from her family back in Germany. (And, as it turns out, the Uncle isn’t as bad as all that.)

3) Dina’s a feisty one. I admire her determination and her quick thinking. One of my favourite stories involves the small pox plot. I loved it even more when I found out that this is a story that stems from the author’s own family history!

4) I like how the hats come into play in the story. And can I say that I was cringing during the scene where she’s a brand new maid at the rich lady’s house. She’s just supposed to take breakfast up and leave it for the mistress of the house, but when she sees all the hats… Well. Ooh, boy!

5) I love the twist with the sister. I’ll leave it at that.

WHAT’S NOT COOL…

1) I’m not sure I completely bought the motivation near the end of the book where [SPOILER] the Uncle decides to send Dina back to Germany, like she wished.[END SPOILER] I understand the reason why the author needed this to happen, but I wasn’t totally sold on how it fit in with the plot.

2) Also, the relationship with Johann is a little odd since she’s only 13 years old. During those scenes, she seemed so much older, like I was suddenly reading a book about a 16-year-old. Again, I understand why the author did this, but at times this plot-line almost  seemed too old.

FINAL THOUGHTS

My rating is 4 Stars (out of 5) – I really enjoyed this book. Which isn’t too surprising since I really enjoy reading almost everything by this author. I’d recommend it to anybody who loves history, especially if you love a good historical book about the immigrant experience in New York City.


YOUR TURN…

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Photo Challenge #30 / Summertime

20180726ma_3972“Sunflower and Sunshine” / Theme: Summertime

A little about this photo…

Ah, sunflowers plus sunshine equal summertime. The way I’ve shot it, it looks like this sunflower could be in a field of sunflowers. Of course, it’s not. Actually, it’s in front of the local hardware store. And for the past couple of weeks, I’ve walked past and thought to myself, “There’s my Summertime photo prompt!” But, of course, I never had my camera with me. Until now. And I’m very pleased that the sun was in a good place, just to add that little extra summery sparkle. 🙂


THIS WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is posted every Saturday. Please join me in posting your own photos with #2018picoftheweek

Newbery Verdict: The Egypt Game

The Egypt Game // by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (1967)

egypt-game.jpgNewbery Honor Book (1968)
Genre: MG, Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Basic Plot: When April meets Melanie and her brother… that’s when the Egypt Game begins. It starts off pretty simple, just an empty lot and a lot of imagination. And then the boys come and join the fun. But there’s danger in the neighbourhood. And somebody has their eyes on the children. Nobody notices except Melanie’s brother, four-year-old Marshall.

MY THOUGHTS…

I love the imaginative play and creativity of these kids… how they immerse themselves into this whole land of Egypt. I love how the boys will have nothing to do with the girls at school, but are totally into the game as soon as they’re out of sight of their peers.

One of the best parts of this book is watching the friendship develop. First we see April and Melanie, but that circle quickly widens to involve Elizabeth, and then Ken and Toby. (And I love how Ken just doesn’t quite get the whole Egypt thing, but he’s here anyway!) There’s more to this theme, but I won’t spoil it. And I particularly enjoyed the character arc of April.

And this book has one of the best ending lines ever. I won’t spoil it, but it’s quite genius!

FAVOURITE QUOTE…

“But as the Egypt Game became second nature to its six participants, and they began to feel more and more at home in the land of Egypt, they gradually began to forget about being cautious. Ceremonies, discussions and arguments began to be carried on in normal or even louder than normal tones, and no one stopped to worry about being overheard.”

(Chapter 15)

NEWBERY VERDICT…

So the Newbery winner for this year (1968) was From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg. Oh, boy. Both these books are SO good. In fact, I would have had a very hard time choosing between the two. My gut tells me that they chose the right book, but man, The Egypt Game really is a close second!

YOUR TURN…

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!


Newbery Verdict Reading Challenge: This is a personal challenge for me to read books that have either won the Newbery Medal, or are a Newbery Honor book. The Newbery is named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. Since 1922, this annual award has given to the author of the “most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” A Newbery Honor book is given to the runners-up.

Quick Pick Reviews #8

Clementine // by Sara Pennypacker (2006)

Genre: Lower MG, Contemporaryclementine

My Thoughts: A cute story about an ants-in-her-pants girl named Clementine. She gets in trouble for helping her school friend cut her hair. And she’s always being sent to the principal’s office.

But Clementine has a big heart. I love how she tries to help out her dad and mom. This book is definitely meant for a younger audience. I loved the illustrations! [4 Stars]


Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing // by Judy Blume (1972)

Genre: MG, Contemporaryfourth-grade-nothing

My Thoughts: I can’t believe I haven’t read this book until now. Peter is in fourth grade, and his nemesis is his little brother: Fudge. In some ways, this book reminds me a lot of the characters of Beezus and Ramona (Beverly Cleary). Fudge is definitely a Ramona character, and (from what I can tell) goes on to having his own books.

I loved the story of the turtle and how that plays into the plot. And the visit by the dad’s client and his wife. The birthday story is also pretty funny, especially the kid that doesn’t want to stay, but then doesn’t want to leave. [4 Stars]


Raymie Nightingale // by Kate DiCamillo (2016)

Genre: MG, Historical (1975)

raymie-nightingaleMy Thoughts: This is the story of three girls: Raymie, Beverly, and Louisiana. As Louisiana likes to say, they are the Three Rancheros. They are all preparing to enter the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition. I love the idea of incorporating Florence Nightingale into the story (I loved Florence Nightingale when I was a kid. In fact, all my dolls were named Florence.) Although, that part of the story didn’t pan out in any way that I felt was very meaningful. It somehow lacked something.

Overall, though, the three girls are delightful. I love their chemistry and antics. And Louisiana’s grandmother is adorable. (Just saying!) [3.5 Stars]


Quick Pick books are always recommendations. (If I don’t recommend the book, it’s not a Quick Pick!)