Once again, it’s time for another round of Middle Grade Carousel’s Reading Bingo challenge! I finished ELEVEN middle-grade books this month! (Not bad.)
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 #MGCarousel 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 this month.
Here are my results…
The Reptile Room // by Lemony Snicket
MG, Adventure (1999)
When I first read this book (over ten years ago now), I really liked it. The clever wordplay. The delightful asides. The three Baudelaire orphans are the kind of friends I’d like to have. (Well, I could do without Sunny biting everything!) And I really liked Uncle Monty… (Although, my favourite guardian, I think, is still Jerome Squalor. Or is it? I haven’t re-read that book yet!)
However, this time around, I felt very depressed while reading this book. Maybe it’s because I’ve read the whole series. (I was disappointed by The End.) Ultimately, I like happy endings. Hopeful endings. And Lemony Snicket just doesn’t even want to give us that. [3 stars]
Secrets, Lies, and Algebra // by Wendy Lichtman
Upper MG, Contemporary/STEM (2007)
This is definitely for older kids. The story pretty much opens with a discussion about a suicide. The MC (eighth-grader Tess) overhears her mother talking about the fact that she’s worried that the guy she rents her art studio from has murdered his wife (… the wife’s the one who apparently died from suicide). So, Tess decides that she and her friends are going to investigate. (It works for Nancy Drew, right? Well, this book’s a little different.)
I do like how the math comes into the story, especially with the one teacher who never quite gets his math metaphors right. That was fun and quirky. The plot involving the cheating of some of her classmates felt a lot more realistic to me. [3 stars]
‘Garden’ in the Title
Tom’s Midnight Garden // by Philippa Pearce
MG, Classic (1958)
Tom has been banished to his aunt’s flat because his younger brother has measles. This totally ruins Tom’s summer holiday plans… until he discovers a secret garden, one lost in time that nobody but he can see.
This is a re-read for me. I did enjoy it this time around, but it certainly is very old fashioned in many ways. I’m not sure kids today would get Tom’s obsession with gardens or Hattie, although they might like the magical/time elements. The clock striking thirteen, though, is still very wonderful… probably the best thing about the book! [3.5 stars]
Author’s First Name is ‘Kate’
Greenglass House // by Kate Milford
MG, Mystery (2014)
Not a bad read for a winter’s eve when there’s snow all around! I didn’t really plan that, but it worked out that way 🙂
I did enjoy hanging out with Milo and Meddy as they tried to figure out the mystery behind why everybody’s convened at Greenglass House… but not as much as I thought I would. I’ve heard a lot about this book. The plot all has to do with an old smuggler named Doc Holystone. I will say there’s a twist at the end of the story which I didn’t see coming until just before it happened. (Although, I did keep asking myself why the author had done something… but I won’t spoil it here.)
For me, this book had the flavour of The Dark is Rising meets Clue! [3 stars]
A Book by Avi
Catch You Later, Traitor // by Avi
MG, Historical – 1950s (2015)
This book is set in the Macarthy-era U.S. When Pete is accused by his teacher for being a “commie”, Pete decides to do a little detective work… just like his hero, Sam Spade. And there’s a little baseball thrown into the mix.
I liked the setting. Although, while I did find the teacher to be absolutely despicable, the paranoia of the era was well-depicted. Even Pete’s own paranoia. The one thing I didn’t really like was the catchphrase: Catch you later, traitor! (It’s spoken by Pete’s friend, Kat. I didn’t really find anything funny or cute about it. But that’s what it’s supposed to be. Cute.) All in all, I did enjoy the history behind this book. Not often that you see a kid’s book about the Red Scare. [4 stars]
Other MG Books I Finished this Month…
- Portal Fantasy // 100 Cupboards // by N.D. Wilson
- Title Starts with ‘A’ // All of Me // by Chris Baron
- ‘Cat’ or ‘Mouse’ in the Title // The Mouse and the Motorcycle // by Beverly Cleary
- Pick Your Prompt / About Black History // Harriet Tubman // by George Sullivan
- Published Before 2004 // Ramona’s World // by Beverly Cleary
- A Girl on the Cover // I Love You, Michael Collins // by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
February Bingo: Complete! Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you thought of them.
For February’s challenge, go to https://elymnifoquent.com
Note: I’m also posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday…