Spring Reading Bingo Challenge / April

mgc-bingo-apr2020

Here’s Middle Grade Carousel’s Reading Bingo challenge for the month of April! I finished FIVE middle-grade books from the challenge this month. Once again, I did NOT get a Bingo. I still say it’s because the libraries are closed!

Here are my results…


Books I Finished this Month…

  • Character’s Name in the Title // Sincerely, Sophia // by Courtney Sheinmel
  • A Classic // I Am David // by Anne Holm
  • Title has Two Words // Sincerely, Katie // by Courtney Sheinmel
  • A Book about Theatre // Shakespeare’s Spy // by Gary Blackwood
  • An Author from Your Country // The Story Girl  // by L.M. Montgomery

Final Thoughts…

April Bingo: I just needed two books, but I couldn’t find a title that began with the letter ‘O’ or a book with ‘School’ in the title. Reviews of some of the books that I did read will be coming…


Middle Grade Carousel’s Reading Bingo Challenge!

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 #MGCarousel 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 this month.

For the next bingo challenge, go to https://elymnifoquent.com

Winter Reading Bingo Challenge / March

mgc-bingo-mar2020

Once again, it’s time for another round of Middle Grade Carousel’s Reading Bingo challenge! I finished SEVEN middle-grade books from the challenge this month! (Not bad.)

However, for the first time, I did NOT get a Bingo. 😦 Oh, well. At least I have the excuse that the libraries are closed.

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 #MGCarousel 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 this month.

Here are my results…


Middle-Grade Books I Finished this Month…

  • A Horse on the Cover // Riding Freedom // by Pam Munoz Ryan
  • Blue Cover // The Whipping Boy // by Sid Fleischman
  • Graphic Novel // All’s Faire in Middle School // by Victoria Jamieson
  • Title has Five Words // As Simple as it Seems // by Sarah Weeks
  • Pick Your Prompt / A Bike on the Cover // Just My Luck // by Cammie McGovern
  • Set During a Holiday // The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue // by Karina Yan Glaser
  • Title has One Word // Notorious // by Gordon Korman

Final Thoughts…

March Bingo: So close! Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you thought of them.

For the next bingo challenge, go to https://elymnifoquent.com

Winter Reading Bingo Challenge / February

mgc-bingo-feb2020

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.

Rules

  1. Because this is a #MGCarousel 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 this month.

Here are my results…


Orphans

reptile-roomThe 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]


White Cover

secrets-lies-algebraSecrets, 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

toms-midnight-gardenTom’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-houseGreenglass 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-laterCatch 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

Final Thoughts…

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

Winter Reading Bingo Challenge / January

mgc-bingo-jan2020

It’s time again for another round of Middle Grade Carousel’s Reading Bingo challenge!

This month, I finished nine middle-grade books that fit the descriptions on the bingo card.

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 #MGCarousel 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 this month.

Here are my results…


Box on the Cover

It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel // by Firoozeh Dumas

Aint-So-Awful-FalafelMG, Near-Historical (2017)

I loved the story of Cindy (aka Zomorod, which is her Iranian name). She was a likable character. And reading this book was definitely meant to feature her character. I loved the historical setting and learned a lot about Iranian customs.

The historical setting is great. The Iran Hostage Crisis (which is featured in the book) doesn’t occur until halfway through the book. This makes the story a little long. But other than that, I really enjoyed the themes, the friendships, the troubles that are explored in this book. [4 stars]

Full Review coming soon.


‘Lock’ or ‘Key’ in the Title

code-breakers-1The Secret of the Skeleton Key // by Penny Warner

Lower MG, Mystery (2011)

I think the fun about this book has to do with all the different codes. Seriously, there’s a different type of code for each message, including sign language. My favourite, I think, is the semaphore code. And the book doesn’t give away the solution to each code so YOU get to solve it as it comes.

For me, as an adult, I didn’t find the story to be super engaging. But kids will probably like it. This would be a perfect book for kids who enjoy solving puzzles and codes. [3 stars]


Pick Your Prompt / An Epistolary Novel

sure-signs-crazySure Signs of Crazy // by Karen Harrington

MG, Contemporary (2013)

This isn’t quite a true epistolary novel, but it does contain letters, and in many ways, it does read like it’s a diary. It’s the story of Sarah. She doesn’t know her mother because, when she was two, she (the mother) attempted to drown Sarah and succeeding in drowning Sarah’s twin, Simon. Sarah’s worried that she might end up mentally ill like her mom. She doesn’t feel she can confide in her dad (who has a drinking problem… and that’s kind of understandable; but not helpful to a daughter who needs you.)

So, Sarah begins to write to the dad she wishes she had: Atticus Finch. And through the letters, and with the help of some neighbours, Sarah begins to work through her anxieties. And get her dad some help. [4 stars]


‘Brave’ or ‘Fear’ in the Title

igraine-the-braveIgraine the Brave // by Cornelia Funke

MG, Fantasy (1998)

Igraine wants to be a knight! When her magician parents make a tiny mistake and turn into pigs, it’s up to their daughter to go on a quest to save the day… and the castle.

A fun book, Igraine is a very likable character. I love the little touches… Like the Sorrowful Knight. Or the castle called Pimpernel! And how the mother is referred to as the Fair Melisande. And even how the brother (Albert, a magician-in-training) can only conjure up blue eggs and dry biscuits, no matter what! [4 stars]


Red Cover

Firegirl // by Tony Abbott

fire-girlMG, Contemporary (2006)

This is an interesting what-if story. What if a girl is burned so badly in a fire… and then has to go to a new school… how would her new classmates treat her? The story is told through the eyes of Tom. I actually liked the complexity of emotions of this book. I enjoyed the subplot of the two friends (Tom and Jeff) and the uncle’s special “car”. Throughout, the reader isn’t sure if Jeff is lying or what. And when you find out, there’s another dilemma that Tom has to face.

The one thing I did not quite find believable is the fact that the parents choose to send their daughter (Jessica) to face school in her situation. Especially, since she is still recovering. But, in spite of that, if I can put that aside, I did like the themes that the book explored. And overall, I enjoyed this story.

And for some reason, I really like that cover! [4 stars]


Other MG Books I Finished this Month…

  • A Pretty Book Cover // Roll // by Darcy Miller
  • Character’s Name in the Title // Dear Mr. Henshaw // by Beverly Cleary
  • Set in a Small Town // The Only Girl in School // by Natalie Standiford
  • A Ladder on the Cover // The Case of the Missing Moonstone // by Jordan Stratford

Final Thoughts…

January 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

Winter Reading Bingo Challenge / December

mgc-bingo-dec2019

It’s time again for another round of Middle Grade Carousel’s Reading Bingo challenge!

This month, I finished nine middle-grade books that fit the descriptions on the bingo card. (I got an arrow!!)

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 #MGCarousel 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 this month.

Here are my results…


Books on the Cover

Words on Fire // by Jennifer A. Nielsen

words-on-fireMG, Historical (2019)

When her parents are taken by the Cossacks, Audra is thrust into their life of book smuggling. She learns that people like her parents risk their lives in order to keep the Lithuanian culture alive, even in the face of Russian occupation.

I liked Audra’s spunk. And I really liked Lukas and his determination. They played nicely off each other! I should have expected some of the twists Nielsen often brings to her stories, but I really didn’t see them until they were about to be revealed.

I did find the story a bit slow in spots, otherwise, I would have given it a higher rating. [3.5 stars]


Natural Disasters

The Pompeii Disaster // by Dan Gutman

pompeii-disasterMG, Contemporary/Time Travel (2018)

Note: This book is technically the third book in a series. The Flashback Four are a group of kids that time travel to various important events in history to… get this… take a photograph of said event. This book’s focus: Pompeii. And as you can probably guess, things won’t go smoothly with a volcano about to erupt.

The kids have to take a picture of the historical event, but that’s about it. But, I’ve included it in my list because it is kind of neat to think of having a photograph of Mount Vesuvius about to bury the city of Pompeii in ash. Wow, just wow! [3 stars]


Pick Your Prompt / A Book About Grief

The Elephant // by Peter Carnavas

elephantLower MG, Contemporary (2017)

This is a sweet book about a girl who just wants her dad to fix her bike. But that is even a little too simplistic. Really, what she wants is her dad to be a dad. The elephant, of course, is a metaphor. Something that continually follows around after her dad. It’s invisible and only Olive can see it.

Ultimately, this book is a story about grief and how we deal with grief. It’s an interesting choice to show the grief felt by the father and others in the story. Told in short, easy-to-read chapters. The illustrations add a nice touch. This book is definitely intended for younger readers. Although, I thoroughly enjoyed it as an adult. [4 stars]


‘Guide’ in the Title

Wildlife Watcher Guide // by Michael Leach and Meriel Lland

wildlife-watcher-guideMG, Non-Fiction (2016)

This was a nice little how-to guide for beginner photographers. It focuses on how to get the shots of wildlife.

I especially enjoyed the little interviews with the authors (photographers themselves) sprinkled throughout the book. Many of the photos are stunning, although I doubt any child will be able to travel to get such shots. But it is inspiring. They also do give tips on how to take photos in your own backyard.   [3 stars]


Three Words in the Title

A Little Princess // by Frances Hodgeson Burnett

a-little-princessMG, Classic (1890)

A re-read for me. The riches to rags back to riches story always holds some magic in it. In many ways, Sara Crewe is a more modern (in you can call 1890 modern) version of Cinderella. She has the kindness and sweetness and optimism of Cinderella. And Miss Minchin plays a wonderful evil stepmother-type character.

While I still like The Secret Garden better, this book comes in a close second. (And to tell the truth, I do think I’d prefer Sara as a friend a little more than Mary Lennox. At least, the Mary at the beginning of the story!) [4.5 stars]


Other MG Books I Finished this Month…

  • Book About Siblings // Planet Earth is Blue // by Nicole Panteleakos
  • Purple Cover // Counting on Grace // by Elizabeth Wintrop
  • Author’s Name is Chris // Elijah of Buxton // by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • Piano on the Cover // Who Was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart // by Yona Zeldis McDonough

Final Thoughts…

December Bingo: Complete! Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you thought of them.

For January’s challenge, go to https://elymnifoquent.com

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

Fall Reading Bingo Challenge / November

mgc-bingo-nov2019

It’s time again for another round of Middle Grade Carousel’s Reading Bingo challenge!

This month, I finished nine middle-grade books that fit the descriptions on the bingo card. I almost got two bingos, but I was shy of one title.

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 #MGCarousel 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 this month.

Here are my results…


Zombies

There’s a Zombie in my Bathtub // by Henry Winkler & Lin Oliver

Lower MG, Contemporary (2015)

Zombie-in-my-bathtubCute story for younger readers. Hank and his friend always watch a certain Halloween movie every year before Halloween. This year, a new friend brings a scary zombie movie, but Hank’s too afraid to admit he’s, well, afraid.

I thought this book dealt with the topic of fear and peer pressure quite nicely. Hank is no shrinking violet by any stretch of the imagination. (After all, the character seems to be based on the author who IS the Fonz!) So, when we see that even a likable, full-of-energy kid like Hank can get scared of zombies (even though his friends aren’t scared), we can maybe relate.  [3 stars]


Title Starts with ‘L’

Level 13 // by Gordon Korman

MG, Contemporary (2019)

level-13This is a sequel to Slacker. Cameron Boxer is obsessed with video games. And this time, he wants to be like his gaming idols and build his own massive live-stream following. In order to do so, he has to get out of his responsibilities as leader of P.A.G. Which means, he can’t let anyone (other than his best buddies) know. Being Cameron… well, he tends to get away with such things.

Another fun book by Gordon Korman. I found it especially intriguing when we get to the reason for the title: Level 13. It doesn’t happen until about half-way through the book. But once it’s mentioned, I could wait for Cameron to get to Level 13. (He does get there, but I won’t spoil what he finds there.) [3.5 stars]


Pick Your Prompt / A Book About WWI

The Frightful First World War // by Terry Deary and Martin Brown

MG, Non-Fiction (1995?)

frightful-first-world-warThe book gives the history of World War I in bite-sized chunks. Each year of the war (from 1914-1918) has its own little timeline. The book is peppered with lots of cartoons to illustrate various events during the war. This is definitely one of the highlights… and will definitely appeal to the reluctant readers. (And non-reluctant readers like myself!)

I’d recommend it for anybody who has an interest in history; but it will also appeal to those who don’t. (And for those who don’t, they just might learn something about history!) [4 stars]


‘Lake’ in the Title

Swan Lake // by Mark Helprin

MG, Fairy Tale (1989)

swan-lakeI’ve heard about Swan Lake my entire life, but never really knew the story.  Not sure how closely this fits the story of the ballet, but it does have swans and a lake!

It’s told in the style of almost being a true story set in our world, yet also maintains its fairy tale origins. I like the little twist about the girl. I must admit that I didn’t see it coming until just before it’s revealed. So, I really did like that aspect.  [3 stars]


A Boat on the Cover

The Perilous Journey // by Trenton Lee Stewart

MG, Mystery/Adventure

perilous-journey.jpgThis one is a re-read for me.

The Mysterious Benedict Society is back! This time, it’s a year after their initial adventure, and Mr. Benedict has organized a treasure hunt of sorts. Except, suddenly he goes missing, so now Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance have to track him down.

I remember enjoying this book when I first read it, and I enjoyed it once again on this re-read. Milligan’s stand-offs always bring a smile to my face, and I think THIS book offers the best Milligan-McCracken duel in the series. It has such a cliffhanger. (Don’t worry, it’s at the end of a chapter, NOT the end of the book!) I just don’t know how Milligan does it… [4 stars]


Other MG Books I Finished this Month…

    • Set at School // Niagara Falls, or Does it? // by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver
    • Skyline on the Cover // Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden // by Karina Yan Glaser
    • Light Blue Cover // The Prisoners’ Dilemma // by Trenton Lee Stewart
    • Grandparents // Broken Strings // by Eric Walters and Kathy Kacer

Final Thoughts…

November Bingo: Complete! Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you thought of them.

For December’s challenge, go to https://elymnifoquent.com

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

Fall Reading Bingo Challenge / October

mgc-bingo-oct2019

I’m back to Middle Grade Carousel’s Reading Bingo challenge!

This month, I finished ten middle-grade books that fit the descriptions on the bingo card. And yes, I get to call out “Bingo!”

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 #MGCarousel challenge, all of the books on your Bingo board should be MG reads. Find out more about #MGCarousel here.
  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 this month.

Here are my results…


‘Truth’ or ‘Dare’ in the Title

Double Dog Dare // by Lisa Graff

MG, Contemporary (2012)

double-dog-dareThis was a cute story about a girl (Francine) and a boy (Kansas) who get into a dare contest to see WHO will be the new anchorperson for the school announcements. She really wants; he doesn’t but is the kind of boy who can’t turn down a dare.

Most of the book was pretty silly. I really like how both kids are each struggling with their newly divorced parental situation. This is at the heart of the story and what makes the story worth the read. Most of the dares are pretty fun, but the solution was a little too obvious for me.  [3.5 stars]


Title Starts with ‘O’

The Other Half of my Heart // by Sundee T. Frazier

MG, Contemporary (2010)

other-half-heartThis book is about bi-racial twins. One of them is black and the other is white. And when their grandmother enters them in the Miss Black Pearl beauty pageant… cue the drama.

For the most part, the story is told through Minni’s eyes (the white twin). I loved how the author dealt with how she portrayed the two sisters, the love and connection they have with each other. As tensions in the book rise, Minni starts to question her place in the world. Is she black? Is she white? She has some good conversations with her grandmother’s neighbour, Dr. Oliphant (probably one of my favourite characters in the book!) [4 stars]


A Book You Own

A Bear Called Paddington // by Michael Bond

MG, Classic (1958)

paddington-bookOne of my favourite books from my childhood. Paddington is adorable. I like how he just fits right in with the Brown family. And I love his relationship with Mr. Gruber! How they share elevensies together. And Mr. Curry! Arrgh! The ultimate mean next-door neighbour.

I remember as a kid not even questioning the fact that a bear could come and live in a family.  [5 stars]


Fairies

Fairy Mom and Me // by Sophie Kinsella

MG, Magical Realism (2018)

fairy-momCute story about a girl and her mom who is a great mom, but she’s not very good at being a fairy. The book is very episodic. In one of their adventures, Ella wants to bake cupcakes, but Fairy Mom’s Computawand doesn’t quite work the way she intends. Enter Zoe, the next-door neighbour who gives Ella trouble. But, don’t worry, all ends well. And Ella ends up with a delicious batch of cupcakes. (I just won’t tell you how that happens.)  [3 stars]


Secret in the Title

The Perfect Secret // by Rob Buyea

MG, Contemporary

perfect-secretFrom the author of Because of Mr. Terupt… Here’s another group of middle-school kids, each of them telling their version of the events in their lives. I did not realize that this was a sequel to another book, so I didn’t already know the characters. This left me a wee bit confused over what was happening, especially at the beginning of the book.

This book did have some good parts. I particularly liked the storyline belonging to Scott, aka “Junior, the stats man” and Coach (who isn’t really their coach but lives at the Senior Center). And the relationship between Gavin and his little sister is sweet.  [3 stars]


Other MG Books I Finished this Month…

    • An Only Child // Absolutely Almost // by Lisa Graff
    • Magicians // Nothing Up My Sleeve // by Diana Lopez
    • Pick Your Prompt / A 5-Star Book // Birdie // by Eileen Spinelli
    • Gate on the Cover // Mysterious Benedict Society // by Trenton Lee Stewart
    • A Retelling // Once Upon a Toad // by Heather Vogel Frederick

Final Thoughts…

October Bingo: Complete! Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you thought of them.

For November’s challenge, go to https://elymnifoquent.com

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

Spring Reading Bingo Challenge / March

mgc-bingo-mar2019

Here’s my bingo card for Middle Grade Carousel’s Reading Bingo challenge.

In all, I finished eight middle grade books that fit the descriptions on the bingo card. And yes, I got my bingo!

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. Find out more about Middle Grade books here.
  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 this month.

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


*A Book About Basketball

Basketball (or Something Like It) // by Nora Raleigh Baskin

basketballMG, Contemporary (2007)

Honestly, I found this book a tad confusing. It’s told through four different POVs, and I was forever getting them mixed up. Which kid is this again?? By the end, I think I had it figured out.

The one thing that did bother me was the foul language. I don’t mind it if it’s for a reason. (The Great Gilly Hopkins? Yes. I would even argue that it worked in Front Desk.) But you don’t normally see this in a middle-grade novel. So, it felt out of place. And again, there really was no real reason to include it. [2.5 stars]


*A Rabbit on the Cover

El Deafo // by Cece Bell

el-deafoMG Graphic Novel, Near-Historical (2014)

I loved this story! 🙂 I’m not always crazy about graphic novels since I usually want more words. But I thought this whole book worked beautifully as is.

I loved that Cece Bell told her story with rabbits as the characters. I loved learning about the subject matter. I loved Rabbit-Cece. I loved how she took the challenge handed her and didn’t let it stop her.

I loved this book! (Can you tell?) [5 stars]

Read my full review here.


*Pick Your Prompt / A Sequel

Copyboy // by Vince Vawter

copyboyUpper MG, Historical (2018)

I was pretty excited when I saw this among the new books at the library. I wasn’t even it existed! And I wasn’t disappointed. While I don’t think it’s quite as good as its predecessor, it’s still a good book. 🙂 [4 stars]

Read my full review here.


*A Book About a Curse

ella-enchanted Enchanted // by Gail Carson Levine

MG, Fairy Tale (1997)

Having recently read Ogre Enchanted, I wanted to go back to the original book. I really enjoyed my re-read. And yes, it still holds up after all these years. THIS is Gail Carson Levine’s masterpiece. There’s a reason why it got a Newbery Honor. [5 stars]


*Author’s First Name is Ben

Zita the Spacegirl // by Ben Hatke

zita-spacegirl.jpgMG, Graphic Novel, Sci-fi (2011)

This book is about Zita and her friend Joseph who gets sucked into another world. Zita quickly follows him… because it’s all her fault. She meets up with a ragtag band of misfits and they all go on the quest.

I generally liked this book. But this is the type of graphic novel that reminds me how much I love words. And I miss words when they’re, well… missing. I didn’t really resonate with the end of the book. Won’t spoil it, but I kind of understand WHY he did it. [3 stars]


Other MG Books I Finished this Month…

    • Blue Cover // The Benefits of Being an Octopus // by Ann Braden
    • A Book from the Library // Number the Stars // by Lois Lowry
    • ‘Lion’ in the Title // The Mystery of the Missing Lion // by Alexander McCall Smith

Final Thoughts…

March Bingo: Complete! Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you thought of them.

Check out the next Middle Grade Carousel challenge at their website: https://elymnifoquent.com

Winter Reading Bingo Challenge / February

mgc-bingo-jan2019

Here’s my bingo card for Middle Grade Carousel’s Reading Bingo challenge. This month, I got TWO bingos! Yay!

In all, I finished 14 middle grade books that fit the descriptions on the bingo card.

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. Find out more about Middle Grade books here.
  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 this month.

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


*Red Cover

Just So Stories // by Rudyard Kipling

just-so-storiesClassic, Short Stories (1902)

I listened to an audiobook for this one. And it’s narrated by Boris Karloff!

Kipling has such a way with words! It’s really quite delightful to read. I think my favourite stories include the one about the Elephant’s child, and how the leopard got its spots. [4 stars]


*Title Starts with an “F”

Front Desk // by Kelly Yang

front-deskMG, Near-Historical (2018)

I loved this book about Mia (a recent immigrant in the 1990s) and her adventures at the Calivista Motel. It was a fun read, but it was more than just that. I enjoyed the themes of courage and never giving up.

My favourite part is when Mia thinks she’s going to get an A on a school paper, but (SPOILER!) she doesn’t. Even though she’s discouraged, she keeps trying. And it’s the fact that she does try that she ends up succeeding. I highly recommend this book. 🙂 [4.5 stars]

You can read my full review here.


*A Book About Twins

11 Birthdays // by Wendy Mass

11-birthdaysMG, Magical Realism (2009)

Okay, so they are NOT biological twins, but the two main characters (Amanda and Leo) share a birthday. And this is quite important to the plot.

If you like the movie Groundhog Day, then this is the book for you. The story is told through the eyes of Amanda. It’s about her feud with her former best friend Leo. These two characters definitely make the book! I loved the character growth and how they figure things out together.

Note: This was also a re-read for me. I enjoyed it just as much as the first time around 🙂  [4 stars]


*Set During the Civil War

Days of Jubilee // by Patricia C. & Fredrick L. McKissack

days-of-jubileeMG, Non-Fiction (2003)

This book takes a look at the Civil War, from the Emancipation Proclamation to the 13th Amendment. I really enjoyed all the stories as well as their clear and concise way of handling different events during the war. The part about Gettysburg was quite moving.

I also liked how the authors didn’t steer away from the complication found in history. BUT that they didn’t dwell on the ugliness. Instead, they focused on hope for the future.  [5 stars]


*’Sugar’ in the Title

Sugar and Spice // by Sarah Mlynowski

sugar-and-spiceLower MG, Fantasy/Fairy Tale (2016)

This is actually a series of books where a sister and brother get to travel to various fairy tales. As you can probably guess from the cover, this one feature Hansel and Gretel.

I did not know this was a series when I picked this up, but that wasn’t a problem. To be perfectly honest, this isn’t really my cup of tea when it comes to books. (I’m probably being kind when I give it three stars.) I DO love fairy tale retellings, but this one didn’t quite do it for me. It does have a cute premise. I would possibly recommend this book for younger readers. [3 stars]


*Character with a Place Name

One-Third Nerd // by Gennifer Choldenko

one-third-nerdMG, Contemporary (2019)

Okay, so the character with a place name is Dakota. (Aside: this was the one character that drove me batty!)

While I liked this book, I didn’t love it. It’s basically about saving a dog from a nasty landlord. But, to tell the truth, I didn’t really care about the dog. I wish I did. I love fictional dogs. (Shiloh? Ribsy? Old Yeller? Winn-Dixie? Yep. I love those dogs.)

Still, the book was entertaining. I really liked the whole “one-third nerd” thing. And the friendship that springs up between the main character Liam and Moses. And Izzy the sister. She was one of the best things about this book! [3.5 stars]

You can read my full review here.


*Pink Cover

Almost Identical // by Lin Oliver

almost-identicalMG, Contemporary (2012)

This story follows Sammie and Charley Diamond. They are twins and tennis players. But when as they get older, Sammie begins to see something: she and her twin are entirely identical. They like (and want) different things.

I love this coming-of-age novel. It’s told from Sammie’s POV. I definitely felt for Sammie, and at times, was furious with Charley! (Although, Sammie makes her own gaffes.) I loved how the tennis was incorporated into the book. This book gets a definite recommendation from me.

Note: This was a re-read for me. Just as good as the first time around 🙂  [4 stars]


*Pick Your Prompt / Book for Black History Month

Finding Langston // by Lesa Cline-Ransomefinding-langston

MG, Historical Fiction – 1940s (2018)

This book got 5 stars from me! Yeah, I enjoyed it that much. It’s probably the library in the book that did it. For me, you almost can’t go wrong if you have a library. (That’s probably not true, but for this book, it IS true!)

It’s short, but it’s beautiful. I loved Langston’s voice. And I liked watching how the characters developed from the beginning to the end. One of the best books I’ve read this year. Yeah, I know it’s only February. [5 stars]


*Seashells on the Cover

Daisy Dawson at the Beach // by Steve Voake

daisy-dawson-at-beachLower MG, Contemporary/Magical Realism (2011)

Daisy Dawson can speak to animals. In this book, she makes all sorts of friends when she and her parents take a vacation at the beach. She dances with the crabs and even saves a… well, I won’t spoil it.

One weird thing that sort of puzzled me was that her parents seem to be unaware of her special ability. And I’m not sure if she really can speak to animals or if it’s all in her imagination.

If you are looking for in-depth character growth, this book is NOT for you. But it’d be a fun read for younger kids who love, love, love animals. (Also to note: each page has some sort of illustration which is a bonus for those kids just learning to read.) [3 stars]


Other MG Books I Finished this Month…

    • Second Book in a Series // Finally // by Wendy Mass
    • Title Starts with an “R” // Rules // by Cynthia Lord
    • Hands on the Cover // Thirteen Gifts // by Wendy Mass
    • Talking Animals // The Cricket in Times Square // by George Selden
    • Dog on the Cover // Swindle // by Gordon Korman

Final Thoughts…

February Bingo: Complete! Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you thought of them.

Winter Reading Bingo Challenge / January

mgc-bingo-jan2019

Here’s my bingo card for Middle Grade Carousel’s Reading Bingo challenge. This month, I finished nine middle grade books. Well, eight titles that fit the descriptions on the bingo card. (I actually read more than nine books, including a few books for adults.)

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. Find out more about Middle Grade books here.
  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 this month.

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


*Graphic Novel

The Little Mermaid // by Metaphrog

little-mermaidMG, Graphic Novel, Fairy Tale (2017)

So, this is the Hans Christian Anderson version of the fairy tale. (But it does borrow some elements from the Disney version!) The illustrations did not blow me away, but I did like a few of them. Particularly when the sea witch bargains for the little mermaid’s voice. They did the whole thing in pink and it is striking!

The one thing I didn’t like was the ending. They got it wrong. 😦 She doesn’t turn into sea foam! She joins the daughters of the air. [4 stars]


*A Book by a Favourite Author

Ramona and her Father // by Beverly Cleary

ramona-and-her-fatherMG, Contemporary (1977)

This is perhaps the most perfect of the Ramona books! Okay, I love them all, but this one is extra special. And it definitely earned the Newbery Honor.

I love how it tackles her dad’s job loss and his smoking. Ramona has come a long way from her days as Henry Huggins’ nemesis. I think that’s what I really like about these books. Ramona still does things her own way, except now we get to see it through her POV. And, frankly, that makes all the difference.

The scene with the burrs? Wonderful! [5 stars]


*First in the Title

Jacob Two-Two’s First Spy Case // by Mordecai Richler

jacob-two-two-first-spy-caseMG, Contemporary (1997)

This was a fun read in the same sort of vein as The Phantom Tollbooth. Jacob Two-Two breaks into espionage when his neighbour turns out to be a Master Spy.

Lots of fun word-play. (The villains are Mr. I.M. Greedyguts and the Perfectly Loathsome Leo Louse.) And lots of little Canadian jokes 🙂  [4 stars]


*A Tail on the Cover

The Unteachables  // by Gordon Korman

unteachablesMG, Contemporary (2019)

Gordon Korman’s back on top of his game for this book! Hooray 🙂 As for the tail… yes, there is a tail on the cover of the book. See the little lizard sitting on the desk?

I enjoyed getting to know the group of kids nicknamed the Unteachables. As in many of Korman’s books, we get to see things through several differing viewpoints… including the teacher Mr. Kermit, and even the principal. [4 stars]


*Author’s First Name is Jonathan

Bridget Wilder: Spy-in-Training // by Jonathan Bernstein

bridget-wilder.jpgMG, Contemporary/Espionage (2015)

This book reminded me of the Spy School books. But it’s a little weirder than that. There were some nice twists and turns, but I wasn’t crazy about a few of the things that happen in the book. Mainly with regards to the big brother Ryan, who is constantly in trouble. But this all seems to be part of a running joke in the book. Maybe I was taking it too seriously. Anyhow, this book was okay, but nothing to get excited about. [3 stars]


Other MG Books I Finished this Month…

    • Double O’s in the Title // Cool Zone with the Pain and the Great One // by Judy Blume
    • A Book that was Recommended // The Moffats // by Eleanor Estes
    • Pick Your Prompt / A Mystery // Room One // by Andrew Clements
    • A Quest // The Dark is Rising // by Susan Cooper

Final Thoughts…

January Bingo: Complete! Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you thought of them.