Middle Grade Carousel is hosting a Summer Reading Bingo challenge, and I decided to give it a shot for their June challenge. And I did it! While I didn’t get a full card, I did get a BINGO.
Thank-you to Elza Kinde for 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.
- Because this is a Middle Grade Carousel challenge, all of the books on your Bingo board should be MG reads.
- 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!
- You should only be filling in your Bingo board with books you’ve read during June.
Here are my results…
One Word Title
Wishtree // by Katherine Applegate
The first few chapters, while charming, almost led me to a DNF. This plot of this book really doesn’t get underway until Chapter 10! And by this time I wasn’t sure about this book.
But I’m so glad I stuck with it. This is an absolutely beautiful story of friendship and sacrifice. Much in the vein of The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein (although this book is a much happier book). I particularly loved the friendship between the the crow and the tree and how they worked together on their plots and plans.
This book actually made me cry near the end. [4.5 stars]
Title Starts with U
Under the Watsons’ Porch // by Susan Shreve
I had a hard time liking Ellie, the MC of this book. She tends lie (stretching truth is a kind way of putting it). For example, they start this “day camp” under the neighbours’ porch. When her mom asks if they got permission from the Watson sisters, Ellie lies. And then brushes it off with “Well, the Watson sisters are really old and deaf, so it doesn’t matter” attitude.)
I did like the rebel, Tommy. Although he has his faults as well. He pushes a lot of boundaries. I felt for him being labelled the “bad kid” and was glad when Ellie’s parents finally figure this out. [3 stars]
Magic or Not? // by Edward Eager
I love Edward Eager’s books. This is the story of twins, Laura and James, who move with their family to the country. On the train ride up, a strange girl (Lydia) tells them that the well in their yard is really a magic wishing well. Laura tries it out and her wish comes true! This leads to the children having some magical adventures for the summer. Or maybe it’s all a coincidence… Magic or not, this book is definitely a fun romp 🙂 [4 stars]
A Book of Poetry
The Hunting of the Snark // by Lewis Carroll
The version I read was illustrated by Chris Riddell, whose illustrations are amazing.
I will preface this by saying that I’m not big on poetry. The kind of poetry that I can tolerate is the stuff that comes in rhymes. So, Lewis Carroll’s poetry is right up my alley. This poem is full of nonsense, but also has some wonderful moments… I especially liked the bit between the Butcher and the Beaver!
A real treat for fans of Alice in Wonderland. [4 stars]
A Book about Dragons
Dragon Boy // by Dick King-Smith
I really enjoyed this book! I haven’t read a Dick King-Smith book in awhile, and this book reminded me how much I like his cheeky writing style. Especially the family dynamics of the Bunsen-Burner family!
I loved the literary allusions, like to the fable of the Boy Who Cried Wolf. And the hint at why King-Smith named his boy protagonist “John”. [4 stars]
Title Starts with E
The Entertainer and the Dybbuk // by Sid Fleischman
I’m almost surprised that this is a kid’s book. It has some pretty heavy themes. Especially with how children were hunted and killed during the Holocaust. It also focuses heavily on revenge.
Not that I don’t think this book shouldn’t exist. I found it very interesting history-wise and I would definitely recommend this to adults or teens. [3 stars]
Reread an Old Favourite
The Magician’s Nephew // by C.S. Lewis
Ah, Narnia! This is the book (while first chronologically, I think should not be read until later in the series) that gives us the back story to the whole world of Narnia. (It’s a prequel before the word prequel existed!) And it’s a wonderful story… Of Digory and Polly. Of a friendship that goes through ups and downs. Of a mother who is dying and a son whose greatest wish is to find the land of youth so she won’t die.
I particularly love the exchange over Digory’s name:
“I say, what a funny name!” said Polly.
“It isn’t half so funny as Polly,” said Digory.
I picked up this book because I just saw a play (on which it was based). I was pleasantly surprised to see HOW much the play resembled the book. (Kudos to the playwright! It’s currently at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario, Canada.) What a wonderful book to revisit. [5 stars]
Pick Your Prompt // A Book About New York City
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street // by Karina Yan Glaser
This book is a contemporary read in the same vein as The Saturdays (Elizabeth Enright) and the All-of-a-Kind Family (Sydney Taylor) which were both written in the 1940/50s. So, this book has that nostalgic feel, even though the Vanderbeekers live in our modern world. (Actually, come to think of it, they’re a little like the Penderwicks.)
I love the family (there are five kids!) and how they are trying to save their home from the mean, cranky landlord who lives on the top floor of their brownstone. (Full review coming soon!) [4 stars]
The Adventure of the Norwood Builder // by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
I enjoyed this Sherlock Holmes mystery in graphic novel format. I thought they did a pretty good job. It actually made me go out and get the original story to read… just to make comparisons. 😉
My thoughts overall is that this is a great way to introduce middle graders to Sherlock Holmes! Of course, at some point I think it’s a good idea to graduate to the original. [3.5 stars]
First Book in a Series
The Saturdays // by Elizabeth Enright
This is the book that begins the Melendy Quartet. My mom read this book to me when I was a kid and I loved it. I haven’t read it since (simply because our library, for some reason, decided to discard this book. WHY?). But I was finally able to find a copy. I was a little afraid that I would find that maybe it isn’t as good as I remember.
Can I just say that this book is a masterpiece? Yes, it is. A minor masterpiece, but it is beautifully written. The characters (Mona, Rush, Randy, and Oliver) come to life so amazingly. I love their Saturday adventures in New York City. There’s a reason why I loved this book as a child. And I love it as an adult. The magic is still there! [5 stars]
Those are my results for June with regards to Middle Grade books. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge. It was fun to sift through books at the library, trying to pick titles to go with the prompts.
This challenge also forced me to read books I might never have picked up. Like poetry. (I’m glad I did!) I look forward to this month’s challenge 🙂
If you want to do this for the month of July, there’s a fresh Bingo Challenge. Check it out at #MGCarousel