Review / The Day I was Erased

day-i-was-erasedBook: The Day I was Erased (2019)
Author: Lisa Thompson
Genre: MG, Contemporary

Basic plot: Maxwell has a habit of getting in trouble…  for everything. And when he makes a wish that he no longer existed, poof! his wish comes true. Now, nobody knows who he is. Not his father or mother. Not his sister or best friend. And suddenly, he realizes that, if he never existed, then his beloved dog wouldn’t exist either…  because it was Maxwell who had saved the dog from certain death. Now, all Maxwell wants is to exist again, and he’s on a mission to figure out how to make that happen.

WHAT’S COOL…

1) While It’s a Wonderful Life is never mentioned in the book (not that I recall, anyway), this book has a lot of parallels… Except it’s the teen edition! And it’s set in the UK. (Bonus for me, since it’s one of my favourite movies!) I love how it slowly dawns on Maxwell how important he is to those around him.

2) My favourite character, by far, was Reg, the neighbour. Reg is so forgetful, even on a good day! Maxwell constantly has to remind him who he is. And so, he’s the perfect guy for the non-existent Maxwell to crash with. The best part is how Reg’s forgetfulness plays into the plot in other ways!

3) It’s interesting to see how Maxwell interacts with his sister and best friend after he ceases to exist… how different they are in this alternate world. I like the bit about how he calls his friend Charlie Geek (because he’s a bit of a geek), only to realize that Charlie never really liked the nickname but never could tell the old Maxwell.

4) In some ways, I think it’s the dog’s disappearance affects Maxwell the most. He has such a good relationship with Monster (the dog).

5) The little historical tidbits (no spoilers!) sprinkled throughout added a nice little mystery for Maxwell to solve. I knew some of the references, but the other ones were new to me… I definitely found that information very interesting! And I like how it all connects to his disappearance.

6) Chris Danger does the artwork on the front cover (see above). What’s cool (for me) is that he’s the illustrator who illustrated my magazine story! When I went to his website to see his work, I saw this book cover and said to myself: “Hey! I have that book!” 🙂

WHAT’S NOT COOL…

1) A few of Maxwell’s antics at the beginning initially made me not like him very much. I usually don’t mind antics, but especially the one with lights just seemed a little too premeditated to me.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I enjoyed this book, especially how Lisa Thompson was able to weave history in with an It’s a Wonderful Life story line. The little bit of mystery is also a bonus.


YOUR TURN…

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

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

Review / Dog Lost

dog-lostBook: Dog Lost (2008)
Author: Ingrid Lee
Genre: MG, Contemporary

Basic plot: Mackenzie loves his new pit bull puppy, Cash. But when Mackenzie’s dad gets angry, he takes the dog and leaves her on the side of the road. At the same time that the town is trying to ban pit bulls, Cash has to learn how to live on her own. But Mackenzie hasn’t given up all hope of finding his beloved pup…

WHAT’S COOL…

1) The bond that develops between Mackenzie and Cash is delightful to watch (er… read about?). Pit bulls really do have a bad reputation, but this book showed Cash as a dog who loves her owner.

2) Speaking of pit bulls… This book does a good job of showing the complex nature of a situation like Mackenzie and Cash. It talks about the fears people have. But it also shows a pit bull (Cash) in a positive light. What makes it even more interesting is that the story is apparently based on some true events in the author’s life.

3) There are a number of side characters that don’t seem to have any connection to one another that (in true Dickensian fashion) come together by the end of the story. My favourite of the bunch are Mrs. Brody (the old lady who watches the train) and Abi Waters (who’s on the train).

4) Some complex characters in this story… especially the dad. He’s not very sympathetic, and yet at times, I felt sorry for him. Especially because he has such nice kids!

5) I found the dog-fighting parts interesting. It wasn’t so detailed that it was distasteful. Instead, I felt it highlighted what can happen with these types of dogs. Which is really sad. (It reminds me of Jack London’s White Fang.)

WHAT’S NOT COOL…

1) As I mentioned earlier, this story is somehow connected to some true event in Ingrid Lee’s life. I wish there was an author’s note explaining a little more about that.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This book is definitely for animal lovers! Especially if you want a good dog story where the dog doesn’t die. You’ll definitely be rooting for Mackenzie and Cash… (And you might just want to go out and adopt a dog from a dog shelter after reading this book.)


YOUR TURN…

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

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

#MGTakesOnThursday / Curse of the School Rabbit

curse-school-rabbitBook: The Curse of the School Rabbit (2019)
Author: Judith Kerr
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Lower MG, Contemporary

Rating: 4 stars

This book in three words…

Humour, Pets, Family

Favourite Sentence from Page 11…

Then Dad said, “He won’t like me being taller than him,” and Uncle Mike said, “Well, most people are taller than Gordon Strong, but it might be a good idea for you crouch down a bit, so that it won’t be so noticeable.”

My thoughts on this book…

This lower middle-grade book revolves around a classroom pet (a rabbit in this case) who comes to stay at the home of Tommy and his sister Angie. Actually, the rabbit comes from Angie’s classroom; Tommy can’t stand the rabbit. But guess who has to take care of the rabbit? If you guessed Tommy, you are absolutely correct!

The rabbit causes all sorts of headaches. And not just for Tommy. Tommy’s dad and uncle are trying to get the famous actor, Gordon Strong, to hire Tommy’s dad for his next movie. But the rabbit does help matters. Tommy’s pretty sure that rabbit carries a curse!

The only odd thing about this book is that there are no chapters. I really think it could have benefitted from chapter divisions. There are lots of pictures, though. And lots of run-on sentences! But those sentences fit in very nicely with Tommy’s first-person narration.

Overall, it was a delightful book.


This post is part of a challenge to celebrate middle-grade books. For more information, go to: https://bookcraic.blog/2020/07/23/mg-takes-on-thursday-8/

How to take part…

  • Post a picture of the front cover of a middle-grade book which you have read and would recommend to others with details of the author, illustrator and publisher.
  • Open the book to page 11 and share your favourite sentence.
  • Write three words to describe the book.
  • Either share why you would recommend this book, or link to your review.

 

Review: The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue

vanderbeekers-rescueBook: The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue (2019)
Author: Karina Yan Glaser
Genre: MG, Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 stars

Basic plot: The excitement is great in the Vanderbeeker house. Mama has an interview and photoshoot for her home baking business. But disaster strikes when the inspector arrives at a time when only the kids are home. Needless to say, the inspection doesn’t go well and Mama is now in danger of losing her license. The kids are determined to make things better by scheduling a whole new inspection. Their goal is to pull this off without Mama and Papa ever suspecting a thing. But it isn’t helping that some mysterious person keeps leaving pets on the Vanderbeekers’ doorstep.

WHAT’S COOL…

1) I’ll say it again. I love, love, love this big family of five kids. Can I just say that I want a tree house like they build for Oliver? (Although, how they manage to do this in NYC confuses me. I didn’t even know from the previous books that they even had a backyard.)

2) I like how the kids all band together to try to solve this problem. Even when their opinions don’t always mesh, they work through it!

3) I’m glad Herman Huxley is back. At first, I didn’t think he’d make an appearance, but then good ole Herman Huxley pops into the story! I wish Glaser had brought him in a little more.

4) [Minor **Spoiler] The idea of a cat cafe is such fun for kids and animal-lovers. Yes, there really are such places as these. Not sure I’d really want to go, but I know a lot of people who have gone to cafes like this and raved about the experience. (I’m not really a cat person.) [End Spoiler]

5) There’s a nice little mystery involved over WHO is leaving all the animals at the Vanderbeekers’ house. It definitely had me trying to figure it out.

WHAT’S NOT COOL…

1) The violin recital. What was the purpose of this? I’m not sure. It didn’t seem to add to the story. (Nor did it take anything away. It just seemed not all that necessary.)

2) The grown-up in me wanted to cringe at times. Especially with the inspector-business! The realism wasn’t quite there, but kids will probably enjoy it.

3) We need MORE Herman Huxley!

FINAL THOUGHTS

My rating is 3.5 Stars (out of 5) – A fun book. Like I mentioned, I wasn’t keen on the fact that I didn’t find the whole premise to be super-realistic. But, kids probably won’t notice and will enjoy the freedom these children have as they run all over New York City!


YOUR TURN…

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

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday