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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: middle grade, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 1,177
1. MIDDLE-GRADE FANTASY (for the beach AND the classroom)

Looking for some recommendations for a middle grader who loves fantasy? Well, we’ve got just the list for you!

Here are some stellar picks for the kid looking for magical powers, mysterious forests, heros, and villains to take to the beach with him.

The Thickety

THE THICKETY, by J. A. White, is the start of a new fantasy series set in a world where magic is forbidden but exists in the dark woods called the Thickety. This book would be a great recommendation for fans of the Septimus Heap series, and here’s a book talk prepared by librarian, author, and Common Core workshop presenter Kathleen Odean:

How would you like to have the power to summon amazing creatures to do your will? When Kara finds a book in the Thickety, a dangerous forest, it awakens her magical powers. Local villagers view magic as evil but for Kara, it’s a connection to her mother, who was executed as a witch. The spells thrill Kara until the magic starts to change her in frightening ways. Is Kara in control of the magic—or is it in control of her? If she doesn’t figure it out soon, she could lose everyone and everything she loves.

There’s even a Common Core-aligned discussion guide with activities written by the author, J. A. White—an elementary school teacher! (You may not want to send this to the beach, though. Maybe save it for September.)

 

The Castle Behind Thorns

THE CASTLE BEHIND THORNS, by Schneider Award winner Merrie Haskell, is a magical adventure set in an enchanted castle that will appeal to fans of Gail Carson Levine, Karen Cushman, and Shannon Hale.

When Sand wakes up alone in a long-abandoned castle, he has no idea how he got there. Everything in the castle—from dishes to candles to apples—is torn in half or slashed to bits. Nothing lives here and nothing grows, except the vicious, thorny bramble that prevents Sand from leaving. To survive, Sand does what he knows best—he fires up the castle’s forge to mend what he needs to live. But the things he fixes work somehow better than they ought to. Is there magic in the mending, granted by the saints who once guarded this place? With gorgeous language and breathtaking magic, THE CASTLE BEHIND THORNS tells of the power of memory and story, forgiveness and strength, and the true gifts of craft and imagination.

Thinking ahead to the new school year, Common Core applications include: Comparing and contrasting texts in different forms or genres; determining the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; and analyzing the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.

The Dyerville Tales

THE DYERVILLE TALES, by M. P. Kozlowsky, tells the story of a young orphan who searches for his family and the meaning in his grandfather’s book of lost fairy tales.

Vince Elgin is an orphan, having lost his mother and father in a fire when he was young. With only a senile grandfather he barely knows to call family, Vince was interned in a group home, dreaming that his father, whose body was never found, might one day return for him. When a letter arrives telling Vince his grandfather has passed away, he is convinced that if his father is still alive, he’ll find him at the funeral. He strikes out for the small town of Dyerville carrying only one thing with him: his grandfather’s journal. The journal tells a fantastical story of witches and giants and magic, one that can’t be true. But as Vince reads on, he finds that his very real adventure may have more in common with his grandfather’s than he ever could have known.

If you’d like to bring this one into your classroom next year, Common Core applications include: Determining the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text; analyzing the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone; describing how a particular story’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes; and describing how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.

The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw

THE HERO’S GUIDE TO BEING AN OUTLAW, by Christopher Healy, is the hilarious and action-packed conclusion to the acclaimed hit series that began with THE HERO’S GUIDE TO SAVING YOUR KINGDOM.

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You think you know those guys pretty well by now, don’t you? Well, think again. Posters plastered across the thirteen kingdoms are saying that Briar Rose has been murdered—and the four Princes Charming are the prime suspects. Now they’re on the run in a desperate attempt to clear their names. Along the way, however, they discover that Briar’s murder is just one part of a nefarious plot to take control of all thirteen kingdoms—a plot that will lead to the doorstep of an eerily familiar fortress for a final showdown with an eerily familiar enemy.

And Common Core applications for this one include: Explaining how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text; comparing and contrasting texts in different forms or genres; and analyzing how differences in the points of view of the characters and the reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) create such effects as suspense or humor.

Happy reading!

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2. New Website Address for Danette Haworth!

Hello all!

Somehow, my dot com domain name got swiped a few weeks ago. I'm trying to get the dot com address back, but now Danette Haworth is dot net website!

Yay! I'm back online!

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3. MMGM Links (7/28/14)

So...my brain is dead. Comic Con killed it. I mean, don't get me wrong, it was also SO MUCH FUN. But yeah. 5 days of crowds and noise and general sensory overload? I've got brain leaking out of my ears.

So I'm going to try to put together the MMGM links, but it's highly possible there will be errors. And if there are, SORRY, but please don't email me asking me to fix them. I have so much to catch up on, I won't have time to revise this post.

Okay, here goes...

- Alex at Randomly Reading is cheering for BETTER NATE THAN EVER. Click HERE to see why. 
- Natalie Aguirre is interviewing author Julie Mary Gibson and GIVING AWAY an ARC of COPPER MAGIC. Click HERE for details. 
- Jessica at Books for Serendipity is riveted by MIRROR MAZE. Click HERE to read her review.  
- Katie at Storytime Secrets is featuring the first two books in THE CHARMED LIFE series. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Suzanne Warr is highlighting AIRMAN. Click HERE to see what she thought.   
- Rcubed has been swept away with HALF UPON A TIME . Click HERE to read her review.  
- Andrea Mack has been carried away by A HUNDRED HORSES . Click HERE to see why.
- Reader Noir is loving STILL LIFE. Click HERE to read her feature. 
- The B.O.B. has a list of books to help you get in the swing of things for school starting. Click HERE to see what they are.   
- Jenni Enzor is singing praises for the THE SECRET LIFE OF A DAISY. Click HERE to see why. 
- Greg Pattridge is chasing THE SPY CATCHERS OF MAPLE HILL.  Click HERE to see why. 
- Michael Gettel Gilmarten is is ALSO singing praises for THE SECRET LIFE OF A DAISY. Click HERE for his take. 
- Mark Baker is championing THE 101 DALMATIONS. Click HERE to see what he thought.  
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--COUSINS AND ROBBERS: TALES OF BLACK JACK JETTY. Click HERE for details. 
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome! 
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time! 
- Jennifer Rumberger always has an awesome MMGM feature on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week.



If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me. 

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4. MMGM Links (7/21/14)

Scrambling to prep for Comic Con--and finishing up my final read on EVERBLAZE--so alas, no MMGM shout-out this week. But if you're going to be at Comic Con, here's hoping I'll see you. I'm signing at the Mysterious Galaxy booth at 3:00pm on Thursday.

Oh, and thank you all SO MUCH for all your enthusiasm and excitement about KEEPER #4. I'm so thrilled I get to write that book for you. Team KEEPER High Five!!!


Okay, on to the MMGM links!!!!

- Samantha at Books for Serendipity joins the MMGM fun with a feature on COURAGE FOR BEGINNERS. Click HERE to welcome her to the group.  
- Christina Mercer is also joining the MMGM fun with a feature on TAYLOR DAVIS AND THE FUNNEL OF FINDUL. Click HERE to see her review. 
- Suzanne Warr is highlighting LAWN BOY. Click HERE to see what she thought.   
- Rcubed is flipping for FLIPPED. Click HERE to read her review.  
- Barbara Watson is spotlighting some of her favorite middle grade reads of the year. Click HERE to see why.
- Jennifer from 5 Minutes for Books is finding THE MEANING OF MAGGIE. Click HERE for details. 
- The B.O.B. is entranced with THE HYPNOTISTS. Click HERE to see why.   
- Reader Noir has chills for CORALINE. Click HERE to read their review.
- Mark Baker is shaken by EARTHQUAKE SHOCK. Click HERE to see his review.  
- Jenni Enzor is caught at THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY. Click HERE to see why. 
- Greg Pattridge is cheering for NICKEL BAY NICK.  Click HERE to see why. 
- Michelle Isenoff is swooning over PRINCE OF MALORN. Click HERE to see what she thought.   
- Dorine White is on the edge of her seat for THE AVATAR BATTLE. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviewing--and GIVING AWAY--a signed copy of BIRD. Click HERE for details. 
- Roseanne Parry is dancing for FIVE, SIX, SEVEN, NATE! Click HERE to read her review. 
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week.
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome! 
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time! 
- Jennifer Rumberger always has an awesome MMGM feature on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.     



If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me. 

0 Comments on MMGM Links (7/21/14) as of 1/1/1900
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5. #616 – Cousins and Robbers: Tales of Black Jack Jetty by Michael A. Carestio

MC-Blog-Tour-Master-300x300

Virtual Book Blog Tour — Cousins and Robbers: Tales of Black Jack Jetty by Michael A. Carestio

CousinsRobbers-Cover.

Cousins and Robbers: Tales of Black Jack Jetty

written by Michael A. Carestio

published by Michael A. Carestio         7/15/2013

978-1-49090934-9

Age 8 to 12

.

“The Great Recession is punishing families across the land: lost jobs, lost dreams, lost hope. Tough times bring out the best, and worst in people. The sleepy South Jersey shore towns are being hit by a crime wave, a band of robbers boldly breaking into homes right in the middle of a summer day. The cousins of Black Jack Jetty devise a plan to protect home and family. That plan will drag them into the mean streets of the meanest neighborhoods in Atlantic City. That’s where the tale twists and turns like a treacherous rip tide. Lucky will tell you the rest.”

Opening

“We’re going to Atlantic City,” Jack says, in a rare display of bravado.”

The Story

The cousins, nine-year-olds Riley, Jack, and Nick, seven-year-old Willy, and honorary cousin, nine-year-old Angel are determined to catch the robbers brazen enough to rob in clear daylight. They all fear their home on Black Jack Jetty will be next, thinking the robbers will be looking for the gold coins they recently found belonging to a deceased uncle. (Book 1) The kids go on reconnaissance, including using an old military lookout post on the top of the house. From there they can see most of the area.

Angel notices a lot of landscapers, which is not unusual in Margate. Only problem is, these guys never mow a lawn or trim a bush. Out on their bikes the kids go, looking for this black landscaping truck pulling a white trailer. Once found, two of the kids try to take a closer look and end up inside the locked trailer when it takes off to wherever the robbers take it at the end of the day. Two other kids follow the trailer and their cousins, while Willy goes home. He is to tell their Aunt Jane what has happened, but only after two hours have passed. Willy, though visibly distressed, refuses to say a word until those two hours have swept away. Will the cousins safely escape the robber’s trailer? Will the robbers be brought to justice?

Review

First, let me say that the narrator is so annoying that had this not been for a review, I would have tossed the book after page five. The story of Cousins and Robbers is a mere 89 pages, easily a one sitting tale. It took me several days. In frustration, I left the story several times only to pick it up a day or two later—because I had to. The narrator spends more time interjecting opinions and commentary more than he likes to narrate the story. It takes quite a while before you realize the “narrator” is a seagull that can talk. He also physically enters the story near the end. Lucky’s narration is always in italics, while a normal narrator is in regular print. Yep, two narrators. Plus, I found the paragraphs in italics—one nearly every page—annoying, causing me to shift from story to commentary. This interrupts the actual story, and I do not care what this seagull thinks about the action, the economy, or the Great Recession. This narrator simply interrupts the story, like someone talking about the day’s events while you try to read the paper. Now, kids might enjoy this oft-time funny bird and not feel the distractions I felt.

4

If you ignore all those italic paragraphs, what is left is a decent story, with a good plot, a good conflict, and an interesting ending, though easily solved. I say this with one caveat: in children’s stories, even cops and robbers, kids should be the ones who solve the problems. In this case, the talkative seagull and an adult rescue the kids, rather than the other kids rescuing their mates. Worse, these characters enter the story near the end. I don’t like reading about these great kid characters only to have two new characters (an adult and a seagull), show up in the last ten pages and save the day. In children’s literature, kids solve the problems, are the heroes, and empower the story—and the child reader.

The illustrations, photographs that look like someone’s old vacation pictures, often do not relate to what is happening on the page next to it or in the story as a whole. Granted, illustrations can be the most expensive part of a kid’s book, but if the alternative is confusing photographs that Uncle Jay took on his last vacation, skip them all together. Illustrations should enhance the story and move it along its journey.

2

I believe the author knows how to write a good story. He understands the elements needed for a good story. Maybe he took some bad advice about the seagull playing opinionated narrator, or having the seagull’s narration stand out by italicizing it. A good editor might have caught all of this and had it corrected. Here is the sentence, from the story, about the use of a talking seagull:

“Now before you go thinking what a cheap literary device . . . a talking animal . . . how cliché . . . Get over it . . . please.”

The author calls his use of a talking seagull cliché, and he is right, so why did he use it? Was he saying I know this is cliché but I do not care what you think? No, I think this was a tongue-in-seagull-cheek joke that took a dive, coming across arrogant instead of witty. As for “Get over it,” not possible. There is too much of this talking animal interrupting the story to express its opinion or make an unneeded comment, yet, in its defense, the author/seagull says,

“I am opinionate, informed, and do not suffer fools lightly.”

Oh, and the prologue, which I do not like anyway, is nothing more than the identical repetition of three pages (41, 42, 43) from the middle of the book. What is the reason for this? It seems like the author knows what he needs to do, but insists on not doing it or does it incorrectly. Don’t waste your time with the prologue. Skip it and start at the beginning of the story at Chapter 1.

3

Now, the good. Boys will enjoy this tale of cops and robbers. They, as I, will like Angel, the “guest cousin” whose father is in jail for robbery. Angel is a taller and bigger than average nine-year-old who could have saved the day. That would have been a great ending. Angle would have earned the position of a cousin and I would have looked forward to further adventures with Angel in the group. Kids will also like the bicycle chase. It has loads of adventure, suspense, and humor.

While Cousins and Robbers needs tuned—lengthening the story, correct the typos—the elements for a great kid’s story are there. The writing is good. The plot is good. The cousins are good characters that speak to kids and are easy to like. The conflict is believable. There is a nice twist. The adult characters, while they take on too much of the story (important sections like the ending), most are characters one can like. The setting is fabulous. Not just on the beach, but at a house that sticks out into the bay, looking dangerously defenseless—though defenseless it or its occupants are not.

1

Kids will like Cousins and Robbers. They might even think Lucky’s squawking narration is funny. It is witty in an annoying way. You never know what will influence a child while he or she reads a story. A good plot, convincing conflicts, excellent writing, and, humorous twists are great if not marred down by a cliché. Remove the unnecessary. Build on what really works. Write for kids. Think like a kid. Let the kids be the heroes. Accomplishing those, while not always easy, could bring Cousins and Robbers to the level of a Best of 2014 novel for children. The current story is a good start.

COUSINS AND ROBBERS: TALES OF BLACK JACK JETTY. Text copyright © 2013 by Michael A. Carestio. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Tony Auth, Alex Forbes, et al. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Michael A. Carestio, Philadelphia, PA.

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Buy Cousins and Robbers . . . at AmazonB&NCreateSpaceAuthor’s Websiteyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Cousins and Robbers . . . HERE.

Meet the author, Michael A. Carestio, at his website:     http://www.blackjackjetty.com/

About Michael A. Carestio

author use unsure probably notA native Philadelphian, Michael has spent much of his career in advertising as a Creative Director. Black Jack Jetty: A Boy’s Journey Through Grief is his entry into children’s literature and reflects the loss he felt as a young boy over the death of his own father.

quoteThe story takes place in Margate, down beach from Atlantic City where Carestio spends his summers with friends and family.

Mr. Carestio has two daughters, two granddaughters, and two World Series Championships thanks to his beloved Phillies.

 Find Michael A. Carestio at these sites:
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Also by Michael A. Carestio
Black Jack Jetty

Black Jack Jetty

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cousins and robbers

 

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Virtual Book Blog Tour

Cousins and Robbers: Tales of Black Jack Jetty

7

Monday, July 21st

Kid Lit Reviews – http://kid-lit-reviews.com/

Tuesday, July 22nd

Cubicle Blindness Reviews – http://cubicleblindness.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, July 23rd

Bright Kids Books – www.brightkidsbooks.com

Thursday, July 24th

Literary Diva – http://www.blogtalkradio.com/diva29

Friday, July 25th

Jenn’s Review Blog – http://www.jennsreviewblog.com

Monday, July 28th

The Write Stuff –  http://rosihollinbeckthewritestuff.blogspot.ca/

Tuesday, July 29th

Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog – http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/guest-blogs/topics/

Wednesday, July 30th

Gabina49′s Blog – http://gabina49.wordpress.com/

Thursday, July 31st

Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog – http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/guest-blogs/topics/

Friday, August 1st

Get Kids to Read – http://www.mrtierneyslibrary.com/

 

 

copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: Atlantic City, Atlantic Ocean, Black Jack Jetty, children's book reviews, cops and robbers, Cousins and Robbers: Tales of Black Jack Jetty, Michael A. Carestio, middle grade novel

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6. Monday Mishmash 7/21/14


Happy Monday! Here's my Mishmash of thoughts:
  1. Construction  We had water damage to our house and the downstairs had to be completely gutted and treated for mold. It's a nightmare. I've been out of my house since last Wednesday and will be out all this week too while it's being repaired. I'll do my best to respond to comments during that time.
  2. Revision  I'm still revising my MG sequel. It's been slow going thanks to the disaster going on in my house and having to relocate for a while.
  3. Schedules  I'm a very scheduled person and my schedule has been so off this summer. Adjusting to that has been tough.
  4. Reading  I discovered a bunch of books on my Kindle that I forgot were there. I'm going back and reading those before I purchase more. Right now I'm reading Hereafter by Tara Hudson.
  5. Deal Announcement  The official deal announcement for Into the Fire and Perfect For You is here. It's always exciting to see these. :)
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That's it for me. What's on your mind today?


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7. Writer Wednesday: Switching Age Levels


When I first started writing, I was convinced middle grade was the age level for me. I wrote two MG (middle grade) books and loved it. Then I went to a conference and listened to a panel of authors who primarily wrote picture books and thought maybe I should give that a try since I was constantly reading them to my daughter at the time. After that a YA (young adult) idea came to me. And years later, I got an idea that was clearly NA (new adult). 

As you can see, I love all age groups. Writing across age groups has allowed me to branch out with my creativity, which I love. But it's also tricky. I'm revising one of my MG novels right now and my brain is stuck in YA mode. For a little while I wondered why, but I realized it's because I was reading two YA novels while revising my MG. There was my problem. In order to revise my MG, I need to be reading MG. That grounds me in the voice I need for that age level.

So, I'm scouring my MG books and diving into one this week while I revise. Am I the only one who does this, or do you read the age level you are currently writing?

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8. MMGM Links (7/14/14)

Ugh, the weekend totally got away from me, guys. So once again I have no MMGM shout-out this week. But if you missed it last week, I have posted the list of my summer events. You can see where and when you can find me by going HERE.


Also, don't forget, EXILE is still on sale for $1.99. So if you haven't taken advantage of that deal, I'm once again providing handy links (*shameless author is shameless*):


Also, if you decide to buy the kindle version (which can of course be read with a kindle app, even if you don't own a kindle) you can then get the audiobook for only $3.99. Which means for less than $6, you can get an ebook AND an audiobook--now that's what I call a deal.

If any of you feel like helping me spread the word, I MIGHT love you forever. But I promise I am now done being shameless. ON TO THE MMGM LINKS!!!!

- Suzanne Warr is spotlighting um...*blush* KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES!(*blushes again* THANK YOU!). Click HERE to see what she thought.   
- Jennifer from 5 Minutes for Books is finding THE MEANING OF MAGGIE. Click HERE for details. 
- The B.O.B. is cheering for THE SCHOOL OF GOOD AND EVIL 2. Click HERE to see why.   
- Reader Noir is haunted by THE NIGHT GARDENER. Click HERE to read their review.
- Mark Baker is rooting for OLIVER AND THE SEAWIGS. Click HERE to see his review.  
- Jenni Enzor is cheering for VIOLET RAINES ALMOST GOT STRUCK BY LIGHTNING. Click HERE to see why. 
- Greg Pattridge is finding it's BETTER TO WISH.  Click HERE to see why. 
- Michelle Isenoff is jumping for JUMP BOYS. Click HERE to see what she thought.   
- Andrea Mack is caught up in THE CITY OF EMBER. Click HERE for her review. 
- Rcubed is cheering for THE SOUND OF YOUR VOICE...ONLY REALLY FAR AWAY. Click HERE to read her review.  
- Dorine White is sharing HOW THEY CHOKED. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Susan Olson has chills for HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS. Click HERE to see her feature. 
- Jennifer Rumberger always has an awesome MMGM feature on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.    
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week.
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome! 
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.


- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time!



If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me. 

0 Comments on MMGM Links (7/14/14) as of 1/1/1900
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9. #610 – Saucy and Bubba: A Hansel and Gretel Tale by Darcy Pattison

saucy and bubba.

Saucy and Bubba: A Hansel and Gretel Tale

written by Darcy Pattison

Mims House       1/20/2014

978-1-62944-009-5

Age 8 to 14

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“In this modern-day Hansel and Gretel story, Saucy and Bubba struggle to get along with Krissy, their alcoholic stepmother. One freezing night, Krissy locks Saucy out of the house and Saucy must sleep in the barn. In a desperate move, Saucy and Bubba run away to their aunt’s house—except Aunt Vivian isn’t home. Trying to take care of Bubba for several days forces Saucy to take charge of her own life and accept a terrible sacrifice in order to find safety for herself. This is the simple story that weaves through the tangled threads of family and

Opening

“Saucy Dillard loved gingerbread days.”

Review

Since Saucy and Bubba’s mother died, daddy has been very lonely. He hired Krissy to babysit the two kids, and then fell for the young alcoholic woman. Daddy married her and has been googoly-eyed for her ever since. Stepmom gets away with her actions because her hubby is in denial of the problem, preferring to blame his oldest child. That is more than enough to topple any eleven-year-old girl. Add acting as Bubba’s guardian—self-appointed—in charge of his happiness in addition to his safety, and the recipe for disaster more than doubles.

Saucy and Bubba would make a good story for social work students. It covers the same ground without the dryness of an adjunct text. In addition to alcoholism, the story involves child abuse and neglect, a mean stepparent, an absentee father, and runaway children. Pattison also throws in a possible pedophile, just in case there is not enough social angst. The pedophile is nothing more than bait, used to unite Krissy and Saucy in battle. I was surprised Saucy told Krissy the problem, given her justified fear of the woman, but the two make an insurmountable team—possibly because they are so similar—while rescuing Bubba from danger.

Saucy and Bubba is a dysfunctional family drama. The father, who I think is the biggest problem, is an absentee father, not because he is gone a lot as a long haul trucker, but because he overlooks most all of what his new bride does to his children, preferring to blame the eldest child instead of the real problem, his wife. In regards to Krissy leaving the kids on an outing (to get gas), going to a bar (getting drunk and driving home) and never picking them up (they walked home in the cold and dark), he says to his oldest, eleven-year-old Saucy,

“Krissy isn’t the problem. You are. Next time, you stay put.”

The best part of the story is during the runaway. All that before then is set-up. The kids have such a long way to go they must take a greyhound and then walk several miles. Bubba is but seven-years-old, naïve, and trusting. He nearly becomes the victim of the same pedophile, twice, all for the want of a cookie. He is also a genius with numbers. The two run into a few colorful characters, like the young teen working the bus station soda counter. He advises Saucy to take care of herself first before trying to care for another. In the end, he is spot on and that is exactly what Saucy must do to save her entire family. The ending did surprise me, but it is a great solution and the best for Saucy. If only all family problems could be solved so easily.

How is this A Hansel and Gretel Tale? Pattison uses several elements from the original story. Krissy is the wicked stepmother—and the evil gingerbread witch. Bubba is Hansel, using white stone as markers to follow home. Just as in Hansel and Gretel, the father abandons his kids, but instead of leaving them in the woods, he ignores the problems and leaves the kids with the cause.

Middle grade and older kids who like family dramas will enjoy Saucy and Bubba. There is enough angst to sell the story and enough heart to keep the reader interested in what becomes of the two kids. I still do not understand why Pattison had Saucy run and hide near the end, after she was so close to everything she worked for, but it did add one more element of suspense and force the father to open his eyes, maybe for the first time since marrying Krissy. Oh, well, there’s the reason. Pattison is a formidable writer whose work has been translated into numerous languages. Saucy and Bubba is another winner in a long line of winning stories.

SAUCY AND BUBBA. Text copyright © 2014 by Darcy Pattison. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Mims House, LITTLE Rock, AR.

Purchase Saucy and Bubba:  A Hansel and Gretel Tale at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryMims Houseyour favorite bookstore.

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Learn more about Saucy and Bubba:  A Hansel and Gretel Tale  HERE.

Meet the author, Darcy Pattison, at her website:    http://www.darcypattison.com/

Find other Pattison books at the Mims House website:   http://mimshouse.com/

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New in 2014 by Darcy Pattison

Aliens, Inc. Book 1: Kell, the Alien

Aliens, Inc. Book 1: Kell, the Alien

Aliens Inc. Book 2: Kell and the Horse Apple Parade

Aliens Inc. Book 2: Kell and the Horse Apple Parade

Aliens Inc. Book 3: Kell and the Giants

Aliens Inc. Book 3: Kell and the Giants

VAGABONDS 

VAGABONDS

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Also by Darcy Pattison, Click Title for Review

Wisdom, the Midway Albatross

Desert Baths

Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma: The True Story of an Orphaned Cub

11Ways to Ruin a Photograph

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saucy and bubba
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copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 5stars, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade Tagged: alcoholism, children's book reviews, darcy pattison, family drama, family dynamics, Hansel and Gretel, middle grade novel, Mims House, runaways, Saucy and Bubba: A Hansel and Gretel Tale, wicked stepmother

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10. Monday Mishmash: 7/14/14

Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:
  1. I have a roof!  Finally! The addition isn't finished yet but I have a roof, which means no more raining in my house. Yay!
  2. Beth Fred's Blurb Writing Class  Beth Fred is teaching another online blurb writing class in August. Beth is great at writing blurbs so you're going to want to sign up here.
  3. Revisions  I'm working on second round revisions of my MG novel this week. I still have more to trim off my word count.
  4. Kiss of Death  My Touch of Death prequel novella from Alex's POV will be ready soon, and it will be free! I can't wait to share it with you.
  5. Reviewing  I need to catch up on reviews. I have two waiting for me to write them. Hopefully they'll get taken care of this week.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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11. An AWESOME Exile deal (plus the 7/7/14 MMGM Links)

Instead of an MMGM shout-out this week, I'm going to (rather shamelessly) use the space to let you know that the EXILE ebook is on sale. Butbutbut--it has such a pretty graphic!!!



And because there are no limits to my shamelessness, I've even made you handy links, to make it that much easier should you choose to take advantage of the deal:


Also, if you decide to buy the kindle version (which can of course be read with a kindle app, even if you don't own a kindle) you can then get the audiobook for only $3.99. Which means for less than $6, you can get an ebook AND an audiobook--now that's what I call a deal.

If any of you feel like helping me spread the word, I MIGHT love you forever. But I promise I am now done being shameless. ON TO THE MMGM LINKS!!!!

- Reader Noir joins the MMGM fun,with a feature on ONE WISH. Click HERE to welcome them to the group! 
- Jennifer from 5 Minutes for Books is featuring the Choose Your Own Path Treasure Island book--and GIVING AWAY 10 BOOKS in the series. Click HERE for details. 
- The B.O.B. is spreading some love for THE NAME OF THIS BOOK IS SECRET. Click HERE to see why.  
- Faith Hough is shouting from the rooftops for THE ACTUAL AND TRUTHFUL ADVENTURE OF BECKY THATCHER, and interviewing the author. Click HERE for all the fun.
- Mark Baker is finding out that THERE'S TREASURE EVERYWHERE. Click HERE to see his review. 
-Michelle Isenhoff has chills for THE SECRET OF HAUNTED BOG. Click HERE to see why. 
- Suzanne Warr is spotlighting CIRCA NOW. Click HERE to see her review.  
- Rcubed is cheering for SAMMY KEYES AND THE SHOWDOWN IN SIN CITY. Click HERE to read her review. 
- Greg Pattridge is highlighting THE 9 LIVES OF ALEXANDER BADDENFIELD.  Click HERE to see why. 
- Annie McMahon is highlighting JESPER JINX. Click HERE to see what she thought.  
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviwing--and GIVING AWAY--THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BENNY ALVAREZ. Click HERE for all the fun.
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time!
- Jennifer Rumberger always has an awesome MMGM feature on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.    
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week.
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome! 
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.




If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me. 

0 Comments on An AWESOME Exile deal (plus the 7/7/14 MMGM Links) as of 1/1/1900
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12. Monday Mishmash 7/7/14


Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:
  1. Leap Books Shine Editor  I joined the team over at Leap Books to be a final proofreader for their Shine YA imprint. I'm excited to work with this publisher and their authors.
  2. Construction is still going on  I had to leave my house on Wednesday when there were waterfalls in my house. I'm talking rushing water down the walls. I went to my parents' house with my daughter, and my husband fought stayed home to save the house. Construction continues and I'll be going back to my parents' house later this week. I just want this to be finished already.
  3. Revisions  I'm revising the second book in the Curse of the Granville Fortune series this week. A lot of changes were made to book one so I have to fix book two to reflect those changes.
  4. Client edits  I have more client edits to do this week, which is always good.
  5. Two upcoming picture books  I just signed artist agreements for two of my upcoming picture books with Guardian Angel Publishing. I'm so excited to see my stories illustrated, and I couldn't be happier with both illustrators the publisher paired with my books.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

*My FREE monthly newsletter goes out this evening. If you aren't signed up but would like to receive one, click here.*

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13. #605 – The Big Book of Superheroes by Bart King & Greg Paprocki

coverThe Big Book of Superheroes

written by Bart King

illustrated by Greg Paprocki

Gibbs Smith    4/01/2014

978-1-4236-3397-6

Age 8+      288 pages

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“Supervillains started quaking in their boots when they heard Bart King was creating a foolproof handbook that would teach superheroes how to interview and hire sidekicks, customize secret lairs—oh, and how to perfect hand-to-hand and foot-to-butt combat techniques! So, if you have a burning desire to fight evildoers, and a bit of allowance money to purchase this book, grab your battle costume disguise and join the fight for good!”

Opening

“Welcome to the world of superheroes! I have good news. By reading these words, you just became an honorary superhero. Yay!”

So You Want to be a Superhero (aka About the Book)

It begins at the beginning:  you’ve made your decision to become a superhero, fighter of evil, doer of good. Now you need to learn how to act and look like a superhero, starting with your superpower. What will it be? King gives you the 15 most popular superpowers, though there are many, many more to choose from. Then you must act like a superhero. This section gives you situations and asks you to pick the superhero answer. Many answers are further impressed upon your mind through the use of black and white illustrations.

Ways to become a superhero, short of reading the entire The Big Book of Superheroes, includes becoming an orphan, taking your vitamins, and having a rotten childhood. Those are but a few of the ways to shortcut your way to becoming a superhero. Personally, I like “Be a Handsome, Genius Millionaire,” but being hit by cosmic rays works, too. Once you tell your parents you are a superhero, the real training begins.

crayon melt evil laugh

Know when to fight—and with which weapon—and know when to run, I mean retreat. What does a superhero say? The section called “Zingers and Battle Cries—Speaking Superhero!” will help you find a battle cry, a motto, and how to super trash talk. With super training complete, who will be your toughest foe? Rugrats! That’s right, little kids, some of whom may have their own version of a superpower. You can’t just hold these rugrats at arm’s length and laugh. No, you need to know how to control supertantrums.

You need a supername. One suggestion is to find a cool word and spell it backwards, such as El Carim (miracle) or Repus (super). Repus would be a good name for a feline superhero. Add a “p” and get the name Repups, the perfect name for Repus’s canine sidekick. Yep, animals can be superheroes. Your dog or cat might be on a super mission right now. You also need a costume. Maybe a cape would be good with a utility belt to hold your utilities. The Fantastic 4 have great costumes according to King. The Human Torch had flaming underwear, hopefully not as he wore them.

dog hero

Superheroes need to know the difference between right and wrong. They need ethics. Can you learn this? Check out the quiz to see where you stand. If you have a secret identity, keep it a secret along with any super powers you may have. Secrecy is very important to a superhero. On the wrong side are supervillains and ethically challenged people. It’s best to keep an eye out for some of the worst. Those would be the jokers, mad scientists, and high school students (the most abundant).

Review

If you want to be a superhero, start with The Big Book of Superheroes. This book is more like a handbook for good rather than a literary book anyone can find in a bookstore (but you can). This book is the superhero’s bible. Everything you would ever need to know to become a superhero is in The Big Book of Superheroes. I like The Big Book of Superheroes. I had never thought of becoming a superhero, but after reading this book/handbook, it is hard not to want to join up forces with the likes of Batman, Superman, and Super Tot. There is a lot of common sense within the pages of The Big Book of Superheroes, such as,

“The more you know, the less you don’t.”

Who can argue with that? One of the best sections is the “Superpower Activity.” These boxed areas contain activities kids can immediately do, including a list of everything they will need. Kids can add to their super costume by making super goggles, utility belts, and power bands. There is even a sneaky way for superheroes to calm a rugrat using a balloon and one command. Kids will have loads of fun with these silly activities. The pop quizzes are not as abundant as the activities, but they are just as much fun for the superhero know-it-all . . . or do they? All answers are included.

superhero kid and parent

The black and white cartoonish illustrations show kids acting out some portion of the text. They are just what I would expect to see in a book about superheroes. The illustrations help break up the text, add humor, and sometimes help clarify the text. King writes The Big Book of Superheroes using text, lists, asides, blue boxes of comic facts, activities, pop quizzes, and comic illustrations, which all keep the book hopping and kids interested. King’s lists, found in every chapter, include things such as,

The 10 Most Underrated Superpowers,

The 10 Lamest Superpowers,

The Top 6 Tips for Parents of a Superhero.

 

He adds hunks of factual material, such as Superman’s original slogan, and fun comic book facts to teach kids. With Superman’s slogan, King tries to teach kids to come up with their own slogan, motto, or catch phrase. If kids love comics, superheroes, or villains they will love these easy to find snippets by King. These sections are in blue text, making them stand out from the page.

The Big Book of Superheroes, nicely bound in hardcover with bright white pages, is a substantial book filled with enough superhero information to keep a middle grader’s nose between the pages for quite some time. It is the perfect book for kids who love superheroes. Boys may seem the logical choice for The Big Book of Superheroes but girls will like this too. King includes many tidbits and facts about different comic book heroes that I found fascinating. In regards to becoming a superhero by using this book, King wrote,

“Sure, you could read this entire book. But who has that kind of time?”

The same can be said of the book as a whole. No time to read the entire book, pick out the section you want and return later for the others. Readers will not lose any continuity or meaning by skipping around. If more interested in the supervillain, jump towards the back. Interested in superpowers, head toward the middle. Back and forth can become practical. The one thing that bothered me throughout the book is King’s continued insistence on placing the word “super” before other words, making a new word. Some of King’s new “words” include superbreathe, superspeed, superhealing, superhearing, superintelligence, and supergoggles. These words are not supersmart.

superanimal heroes

Kids and adults who like supervillains, DC comics, and superheroes like Batman, the Fantastic 4, and one of my favorites, Wonder Dog, will enjoy The Big Book of Superheroes. It will keep readers entertained for hours. Reluctant readers will find The Big Book of Superheroes a great choice for summer reading. The Big Book of Superheroes can help readers become the hero they would like to become, while learning new facts about favorite superheroes or previously unknown superheroes. The appendix and bibliography are great places to continue learning about superheroes. The large book is entertaining on every page. Super-Kids will love The Big Book of Superheroes, the newest Big book by Bart King.

THE BIG BOOK OF SUPERHEROES. Text copyright © 2014 by Bart King. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Greg Paprocki. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Gibbs Smith, Layton, UT.

Purchase The Big Book of Superheroes at AmazonB&NiTunesBook DepositoryGibbs Smithyour local bookstore.

Read a hilarious review by Erik and Darth Vader, er sorry. An outstanding review by Darth Vader and ThisKid HERE.

Learn more about The Big Book of Superheroes HERE.

Meet the author, Bart King, at his website:   http://www.bartking.net/

Meet the illustrator, Greg Paprocki, at his website:  http://gregpaprocki.com/

Find more books at the Gibbs Smith website:   http://www.gibbs-smith.com/

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**Illustrations by Greg Paprocki, from The Big Book of Superheroes, reprinted with permission of Gibbs Smith.

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ALSO BY BART KING

Bart's King-Sized Book of Fun

Bart’s King-Sized Book of Fun

 Cute! A Guide to All Things Adorable

Cute! A Guide to All Things Adorable

The Big Book of Spy Stuff 

The Big Book of Spy Stuff

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ALSO BY GREG PAPROCKI

The Marvelous McCritterson's Road Trip to Grandmas

The Marvelous McCritterson’s Road Trip to Grandmas

JoJo's Big Tale

JoJo’s Big Tale

Curious George Animals Puzzle Book

Curious George Animals Puzzle Book

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big book superheroes


Filed under: 4stars, Books for Boys, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade Tagged: animal superheroes, Bart King, children's book reviews, gibbs smith, Greg Paprocki, learn how to become a superhero, sidde kicks, super trash talk, superheroes, supervillains, The Big Book of Superheroes

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14. Minion Blog Tour - Guest Post by John David Anderson - Giveaway (US ends 7/11)


Welcome to the Minion Blog Tour! [Insert your best evil laugh here.]

Today we have a guest post by author John David Anderson on his top 10 favorite minions. Read about the new book, which is the sequel to last year's Sidekicked, as well as enter to win a signed copy of the book. (US only, ends 7/11). You can also check out the cool trailer! Finally, make sure you visit all the other blog tour stops as they open up for more cool content and chances to win!



About the book:

John David Anderson returns to the world of superheroes he created in Sidekicked with an entirely new cast of characters in Minion, a funny and emotional companion to his first breakout tween novel—perfect for superhero fans who also love the work of bestselling authors Rick Riordan, Louis Sachar, and Frank Cottrell Boyce.

Michael Morn might be a villain, but he's really not a bad guy. When you live in New Liberty, known across the country as the City without a Super, there are only two kinds of people, after all: those who turn to crime and those who suffer. Michael and his adoptive father spend their days building boxes—special devices with mysterious abilities—which they sell to the mob at a price. They provide for each other, they look out for each other, and they'd never betray each other.

But then a Super comes to town, and Michael's world is thrown into disarray. The Comet could destroy everything Michael and his dad have built, the safe and secure life they've made for themselves. And now Michael and his father face a choice: to hold tight to their life or to let it unravel.



Take it away, Dave!




The Top Ten Minions

Guest Post by John David Anderson

Hey there, Read Now, Sleep Later fans. Alethea was kind enough to let me come crash her blog and share with you my personal list of top ten minions in celebration of the launch of my new novel COMPLETELY INCOINCIDENTLY titled Minion. Of course, our culture is swarming with bodacious villains, and it would be so simple to conjure up a list of ten baddies that I think have influenced my own writing, but coming up with ten minions whose work I admire is much more challenging. If you don’t see your favorite on the list (like those little banana-loving guys, or Henchmen 21 and 24), it’s not because they aren’t cool…it’s just because these lists always only go up to ten. So here goes.



10. Grover Dill: Technically a crummy little toady, Grover Dill exemplifies the need we have to attach ourselves to people we think are stronger than us. As Scott Farkus’s minion, Grover looks like some kind of strong arm thug for the little people mafia.


9. Oddjob: He wears a hat that can cut through steel and he can crush a golf ball in his hand. Plus he makes an excellent chauffeur and golf caddy. Did I mention the hat cuts through steel?



8. Lock, Shock, and Barrel: Minions can be delightfully mischievous, and these three have a playful exuberance that sugarcoats their ax-wielding, Mr. Bogeyman-feeding quest to pretty much kill Christmas.

7. Bellatrix Lestrange: The only female on the list (minions are a male-dominated group, it seems), she’s also, arguably, the most insane. If Voldemort is the pure evil ice-cream, Bellatrix is the crazy cookie crumble topping.

6. Kronk: He speaks squirrel. And, to be honest, he is the only thing I even remember about this movie. Small brain. Big heart. Excellent cook.

5. Waylan Smithers: Perhaps no minion is as loyal to his master as Smithers is to Mr. Burns. Though his conscience may occasionally get in the way, his devotion to the old man certainly borders on the obsessive.

4. Minion: A good evil sidekick is loyal, but he’s also willing to speak his mind (unlike nameless thugs who don’t even get speaking parts). Minion provides the extra heart and soul to Megamind’s often erratic, over-exuberant, Mick Jagger-esque villainy.

3. Count Rugen: The Princess Bride may ostensibly be about the power of twu wuv to conquer death, but for me it’s Inigo Montoya’s quest for the six-fingered man that ultimately gives the story its emotional climax. While Prince Humperdink is a schemer and a sleaze bucket, Rugen represents pure sadism at work. After all, “No one withstands... The Machine.”

2. The Witch King: he rides a dragon-type-thing. He has a cool spiked ball and chain swingy dealy. He grimaces menacingly without even having a face. And he can be killed by no man. When your main supervillain is basically just a big eyeball at the top of a tower, you need a hardcore right hand Nazgul to do your dirty work. Probably the coolest looking minion on my list.

1. Darth Vader: Probably at the top of several villain lists (and a hero in his own right), there is no question that, as the Emperor’s apprentice, Vader represents the most notorious and most iconic minion on the list. (Though he does kill his master in the end, which kind of negates his minion privileges.) Yes I liked him better before I met him as a teenager, but I would never say that to his face. My number one right-hand Sith Lord.

So there you have it. Of course the best minions, like many of the best villains they serve, are morally complex. Some even straddle the line between wannabe villain and antihero, causing us to root for them, even when they break the rules. Perhaps that just makes them antiheroes. Maybe that’s a top ten list for another day.

And if you didn’t see your name on the list, you might look into finding a new criminal mastermind to serve.

About the author:

John David Anderson writes novels for young people and then, occasionally, gets them published. Besides Minion, he is the author of Sidekicked and Standard Hero Behavior. He lives with his patient wife and brilliant twins in Indianapolis, Indiana, right next to a State park and a Walmart. He enjoys hiking, reading, chocolate, spending time with his family, playing the piano, chocolate, making board games, chocolate, not putting away his laundry, watching movies, and chocolate. 

Those aren't his real teeth.

Find Dave on Twitter, Facebook and his website, www.johndavidanderson.org.



Giveaway Rules:

  1. Open to the US only.
  2. We are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items.
  3. One set of entries per household please.
  4. If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address.
  5. Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends.
  6. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner.
  7. If you have any questions, feel free to email us. You can review our full contest policy here.
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Walden Pond Press

Blog Tour Schedule

June 23 Maria’s Melange
June 24 The Library Fanatic
June 25 The Next Best Book
June 26 Jean Book Nerd
June 27 Book Egg
June 28 Word Spelunking Book Blog

June 30 Ms. Yingling Reads
July 1 The Book Monsters
July 2 The Book Monsters
July 3 Read Now, Sleep Later

July 6 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
July 7 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
July 8 Candace’s Book Blog
July 9 Middle Grade Mafioso
July10 Librarian’s Quest
July 11 Unleashing Readers
July 12 Mindjacked

July 14 This Kid Reviews Books
July 16 Charlotte’s Library
July 17 Literacy Toolbox
July 18 Small Review

0 Comments on Minion Blog Tour - Guest Post by John David Anderson - Giveaway (US ends 7/11) as of 7/3/2014 7:14:00 AM
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15. #604 – Maddy West and the Tongue Taker by Brian Falkner

cover44101-mediumMaddy West and the Tongue Taker

Written by Brian Falkner

Illustrated by Donovan Bixley

Capstone Young Readers    9/01/2014

978-1-62370-084-3

Age 9 to 13     256 pages

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“Maddy West is a normal nine-year-old girl, except for one thing:  she can speak every language in the world. In this hilarious and heartwarming tale of fantasy, friendship, and adventure, Maddy is asked to translate some ancient scrolls. But the scrolls hide secrets, and Maddy is sent on a wild journey with a mischievous monkey, a stowaway ninja, a Bulgarian wrestler, and a fiendish witch. Will Maddy’s talent Maddie be enough to keep her safe from the evil magic she encounters?”

The Opening

.“When Maddy started speaking Japanese, her mom took her to the doctor.”

The Story

Maddie can understand and speak every language in the world, but how, she has no answer. She just can. Once she hears a language, she can speak it, fluently. Maddie’s mom thinks there is something wrong with her daughter but when a doctor calls Maddie’s ability, “very valuable,” Maddie’s mom begins searching for ways to capitalize with a capital dollar sign. One thousand-dollar signs leads Maddie to a talk show where language experts test her. Then a professor of the local university arrives wanting Maddie to translate some extremely old scrolls not read for thousands of years. The professor would like to study these scrolls. The catch? The scrolls are located in a monastery in Bulgaria, on an island in the Black Sea and the professor is not who she said she is. Maddie’s friend Kazuki sneaks on the plane to Bulgaria jeopardizing the trip. Two Goth teens kidnapped Maddie at the Bulgarian airport. The Goth teens take Maddie up a steep mountain to the home of their mother, a witch, who also wants to know what is on the scrolls. The scrolls? They contain dangerous dark magic spells.

Review

Maddy West and the Tongue Taker went off in a direction I never expected. I knew mom was trouble. She is as cold as a morgue slab to Maddy, except when there are others around. Maddy’s ability scares mom, and mom, I think, expected the doctor to “cure” Maddy with a magic pill. Ironic, considering where mom eventually sells loans Maddy her linguistic talents.

There must be an underdog and Kazuki, Maddy’s shy Japanese friend fits that bill. He does not learn English easily and often cannot understand others and others do not understand him. This makes him shy and backwards. The opening scenes painfully show this. Kazuki is in the alley throwing his new baseball—a birthday present—against a wall, playing catch with himself. On the other side of the same wall is a group of kids is playing baseball. Playing solo-catch only a few feet from an actual game must be unbearable for a kid who, just a short time ago, was a star pitcher in Japan.

bully brother

Kazuki does not speak English, so no one knows of his talent except Maddie, the one person who understand Japanese. A bully brother makes things worse—until Maddy stands up to the kid. Kazuki thinks he can go invisible when wearing his ninja outfit. Kazuki really cannot go invisible, can he? His most endearing quality is his insistence on keeping Maddy, his only true friend, safe wherever she goes. Kazuki quietly slips onto planes, trains, and cars to keep watch over Maddy.

There also needs to be a superhero and no, it is not Maddy. This superhero is a small monkey named Mr. Chester. Mr. Chester is a capuchin monkey and an adorable, though stinky, hero. When you think he is gone, say, killed off by a larger animal, he’s back! Mr. Chester is definitely a superhero in a short money suit. The most dangerous person in Maddy’s life is her mother, who is willing to let her child traipse across the world with a stranger. Dad agrees without even one, “Is this a good idea? We don’t know this woman.”

capuchin monkeyThere is a definite fantasy element to the story, yet I found it more adventurous than mysterious. I enjoyed the story, reading it in two sittings. The terrific black and white illustrations, though sparse, enhance the story. I was disappointed how early and easy it is to detect the villain, (too many clues too soon), but kids might find it more difficult. Regardless, the story will kept kids riveted in several sections and laughing in several more. The most intriguing characters are Maddy and Mr. Chester. Kids will love these two, especially Mr. Chester and his superhero antics. Adventure or mystery, kids will enjoy every word in the well written Maddy West and the Tongue Taker.

MADDY WEST AND THE TONGUE TAKERS. Text copyright © 2014 by Brian Falkner. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Donovan Bixley. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Capstone Young Readers, North Mankato, MN.

Purchase Maddy West and the Tongue Taker at AmazonB&NBook Depository—Capstone—your local bookstore.

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Learn more about Maddy West and the Tongue Taker HERE.

Meet the author, Brian Falkner, at his website:   http://www.brianfalkner.co.nz/

Meet the illustrator, Donovan Bixley, at his website:   http://www.donovanbixley.com/

Find more books at the Capstone Young Readers website:   http://www.capstoneyoungreaders.com/

an imprint of Capstone

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Also releasing in 2014 by Brian Falkner

Ice War (Recon Team Angel #3)

Ice War (Recon Team Angel #3)

Northwood

Northwood

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Also by Donovan Bixley

bears

The Three Bears (Sort Of)

Northwood

Northwood

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maddy west tongue taker


Filed under: 5stars, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade Tagged: ancient scrolls, Brian Falkner, Bulgaria, Capstone Young Readers, capuchin monkeys, children's book reviews, Donovan Bixley, Maddy West and the Tongue Taker, multilingual. black magic

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16. Saving Baby Doe: Review Haiku

The dangers of
stereotypes; the power of
love. Bring a hankie.

Saving Baby Doe by Danette Vigilante. Putnam, 2014, 230 pages.

0 Comments on Saving Baby Doe: Review Haiku as of 6/30/2014 6:31:00 AM
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17. Return of Zita the Spacegirl: Review Haiku

My favorite space
pioneer girl gets a fitting
conclusion. Well done.


Return of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke. First Second, 2014, 240 pages.

0 Comments on Return of Zita the Spacegirl: Review Haiku as of 6/27/2014 8:31:00 AM
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18. TURNING PAGES: MARK OF THE DRAGON QUEEN, by Katie W. Stewart

There's something to be said for a story that can finish in one go. Now, this novel is also set up perfectly to be the first in a series, but if you're not of a mind to find the sequel, this story has been neatly sewn up, signed, sealed, and... Read the rest of this post

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19. #590 – Colt Humboldt and the Close of Death by T. A. Anderson

FrontCoverSizeB.

Colt Humboldt and the Close of Death

by T. A. Anderson

published by T. A. Anderson       2/4/2014

978-1-49229785-7

Age 9 to 13             460 pages

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“When twelve-year-old Colt Humboldt’s dad drags the two of them from perfectly good Dallas to ancient Edinburgh for a “fresh start,” Colt knows e’s in for a long, boring summer. Fat chance. That very first night, the peculiar Alesone and her little brother Peer crawl out of Colt’s closet, begging for his help to save their family from a horrible fate. Unfortunately, the instructions for doing so are contained in a fickle book that lies to make it up as it goes. Worse, those instructions give this ragged trio one week to journey across Scotland in a impossible adventure to capture three treasures—treasures fiercely protected by a hidden, treacherous world determined to see Colt fail . . . preferably by death. But if Colt and his new friends can survive a horror novel come-to-life, a madman and his minions, a disagreeable folklore legend, and the shocking discovery of just why Alesone and Peter are so odd . . . Well, the next wo treasures won’t come so easily.

Opening

“The flight attendant standing along the curb resembled a ripe blueberry volcano about to blow its top, thought 12-year-old Colt Humboldt from the backseat of the taxi. Her head-to-toe blue uniform appeared dangerously close to its design limits, with a blue cap squeezed over short blonde curls and three very prominent chins squeezing out of her collar.”

Review

Not long after Colt’s mother died in a tragic automobile accident—which Colt survived—his dad accepts a position at the Edinburgh Zoo. Colt is not happy about moving from Dallas to Scotland. He chooses The Keepers room for his bedroom, not knowing the room’s history. This begins the history kids will learn about while reading the book. There are many pieces of knowledge inside the story, the biggest being the black plague that wiped out many in Europe.

What Colt thinks are ghosts awakens him the first night. These “ghosts” are actually two kids from the 1645. Alesone and her five-year-old brother Peter are running from the soldiers who want them back into the close in which the government has trapped all the inhabitants, thinking it will stop the black plague. The two kids are after a cure for their parents. To get the cure and passage back to their own time period, they must complete three missions, which get progressively harder and more dangerous. Colt agrees to help them. He is smitten on Alesone and bored without his friends.

Peter, Alesone & Colt

Peter, Alesone & Colt

Throughout the story, Colt must explain items that are commonplace in the twenty-first century but unheard of in the 1600’s. Many appear to be magic to the two kids. Peter has a habit of smashing things he does not understand, like alarm clocks and television sets. Five-year-old Peter experiences his first sugar high after a breakfast of Frosted Flakes™. He loves the cereal so much he sneaks a box home with him. Sugar highs are not common in the 1600’s as they are now. Peter also likes Colt’s Dallas Cowboys helmet, which took an arrow, saving the boy’s life on one journey.

Peter is an interesting character. He never utters a word, is very resilient, and handy in some of the sticky situations the three kids get into. Pretty good for s five-year-old out of his element. Peter also supplies much of the humor. I did think it odd that Alesone, a bright girl, is oblivious to the changes from her world to Colt’s. It takes her quite a while to accept that she is not in her 1645 world, as she continues to search for a pastor from 1645 and runs from/is afraid of the present day police who have no interest in Alesone or Peter.

Kids who like adventures with fantasy and humor mixed in will love Colt Humboldt. I read the 445 pages in two sittings, staying up late at night. If I were a kid, I would have taken a flashlight to bed just to keep reading the book. I love the characters. They are easy to care about and actually fun to root on as they continue searching for the three items needed to send Alesone and Peter back home. Nothing is what it seems on these journeys. Some of the secondary characters suddenly pop up, instantly twisting the story. Colt Humboldt is not difficult to understand or keep track of these twists and turns, but one does need to pay attention.

New Image

Much of the humor comes from Alesone and Peter being out of place in Colt’s world. He has no idea why they are so surprised by much of what they encounter, not knowing for a long time where the two kids have come from. All he knows is their parents will die if they do not collect the three treasures the Brown Man requires. The Brown Man of the Muirs (folklore) is but one of the folklore and creatures of Scotland legends included in the story. The true villain will be quite a surprise. Though the big villain in Alesone’s world, Mr. Vermyne, is rather easy given his name. He is a rat all right. Vermyne is one of those twists that will surprise you, yet make sense.

Mr. Anderson’s writing is excellent. Colt Humboldt and the Close of Death is the first of a series of adventures involving Colt. I am anxious to read the next volume. I love the way Anderson told Colt’s first story, though he could have made this into three books. A nearly 500-page book, with multitudes of folklore creatures, can look rather daunting to some middle graders. The pacing is great and the adventures are believable, though the last mission is a tough fight. Kids are in for a wonderful ride. A publisher would be very smart to get Anderson under contract. Colt Humboldt, with some high-powered marketing, and focused publicity should take flight right onto the bestseller list where it belongs. It is that good. Colt Humboldt is also T. A. Anderson’s debut.

cropped-banneralt

COLT HUMBOLDT AND THE CLOSE OF DEATH. Text copyright © 2014 by T. A. Anderson. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, T. A. Anderson.

Buy Colt Humboldt and the Close of Death at AmazonB&NBook DepositorySmashwordsKoboAuthor’s websiteyour local bookstore.

.READ THE FIRST FIVE CHAPTERS HERE. (Click on book.)

Learn more about Colt Humboldt and the Close of Death HERE.

Meet the author, T. A. Anderson, at his website:  http://taandersonauthor.wordpress.com/

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If you only read one adventure/fantasy this year, make it Colt Humboldt and the Close of Death. Just my opinion and there are still several months left to find something better. We won’t.

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colt humboldt 1


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Debut Author, Favorites, Historical Fiction, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: black plague, children's book reviews, Colt Humboldt, debut work, folklores, Mary King's Close, middle grade novel, Scotland, Scotland legends, T. A. Anderson

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20. Middle Grade Check-In

Summer reading is in full swing at my library and my tweens are reading furiously. The middle grade (MG) is flying off the shelves!  Here are a few books that my kids cannot get enough of:

Source: Goodreads

How They Choked: Failures, Flops, and Flaws of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg

This one is a follow-up to How They Croaked, which was on the shortlist for the Mississippi Children’s Choice Award last year in the 6-8 category. My kids loved that one, and they must love this one because I haven’t seen hide nor hair of it since it came in. It’s about famous failures and includes stories about Amelia Earhart, Vincent Van Gogh, Ferdinand Magellan, and more. I managed to glance through it between circs and it is hilarious.

 

Source: Goodreads

The Battle for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi

The WondLa trilogy has been popular at my branch since the first book. This is the conclusion, and not only is the sprawling, beautifully strange scifi story of Eva Nine really, really satisfying, the gorgeous illustrations that DiTerlizzi himself penned are breathtaking. I love this series and I’m happy my kids love it, too.

 

 

Source: Goodreads

 

 

The Cabinet of Curiosities: 36 Tales Brief & Sinister by Stefan Bachmann, Claire Legrand, Katherine Catmull, and Emma Trevayne

Short, creepy stories? Gorgeous cover? My patrons are sold.

 

 

 

Source: Goodreads

 

Game Over, Pete Watson by Joe Schreiber

A video game obsessed kid finds out his dad has been kidnapped and is being held…inside a video game?? Sounds AMAZING! I wanted to read this one but every copy in our system was on request before I could get my hands on it!

 

 

 

What awesome middle grade titles are getting checked out at your library this summer?

Are you interested in reading more tween-related posts?  The YALSA Blog and the ALSC Blog both offer information of interest to librarians who work with tweens.

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Our cross-poster from YALSA today is Ally Watkins (@aswatki1). Ally is a youth services librarian in Mississippi, and has worked with ages birth-18 for the last 5 years.

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21. #594 – Return to Canterbury by Melissa Ann Goodwin

return to canterbury.

Return to Canterbury

by Melissa Ann Goodwin

Melissa Ann Goodwin, publisher     12/20/2013

978-1-49234887-2

Age 8 to 12          270 pages

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“Things have settled down for thirteen-year-old Jamie Reynolds since last Christmas. That’s when he time-traveled to 1932 and wound up in the town of Canterbury, Vermont. There he met Kelly and Christopher Pennysworth, who quickly became his best friends. Back in his own time again, he misses them every day. But as the July 4th, 2008 holiday approaches, the biggest black cloud still hovering over Jamie’s life is the mystery of what happened to his dad, who has been missing or almost a year.

“Little does Jamie know that he will soon reunite with Kelly and Christopher for an adventure even bigger than their last. Together they’ll uncover a secret plot that threatens to destroy Canterbury. But will they be able to stop it before it’s too late? And will Jamie finally solve the mystery of his father’s disappearance? Return to Canterbury with us and find out!”

 Opening

“Dear Jamie, writing you another letter, even though I know you’ll never get to read it. But there’s ever so much going on in Canterbury these days and it seems strange not to be able to tell you about it. I miss you awfully, and writing to you almost makes me feel like we’ve talked. Almost.”

The Story

Jamie returns to Canterbury after seeing a picture of himself at the time capsule during the 4th of July celebrations—in 1935. He is standing with Kelly and Christopher, who he befriended in the first story entitled The Christmas Village. Jamie also sees a photograph that looks just like his dad, also from 1935. He knows he will be time-traveling again, this time to bring back his dad. What he doesn’t know just yet is that he will help foil a plan to put Canterbury underwater to form a hydroelectric power plant. To make that happen, a big shot from New York has to buy up the local farmland from farmers who will not sell. But this new “villain” has a plan that will make that problem go away.  Jamie, Kelly, and Christopher set out to foil all of the plans, safekeeping Canterbury for future generations.

Review

I have not read The Christmas Village, though now I would like to read it. The sequel to that story, Return to Canterbury, can stand on its own. The author does a good job getting the reader up to speed without the reader feeling they are reading old material. It is 2008 and Jamie has meet the 88-year-old Kelly. Just last year, twelve-year-old Jamie meet ten-year-old Kelly.  Now she is 88, which is a strange situation for Jamie. Kelly knows what will happen when Jamie returns to Canterbury but cannot tell him for fear of changing the past, thus changing the present and future. This leads to one of a few holes in the story that did bother me, but did not destroy the great fun I had reading the story. It caused a momentary, “Wait. That can’t be right,” and a halt in reading.

Jamie is now in present-day Canterbury. When he goes back to 1935 Canterbury and the prospect of Mr. Boggs—the guy from New York with plans to flood Canterbury for a hydroelectric power plant—Jamie should realize, from the current Canterbury, that the 1935 plan fails, yet the three kids put themselves in great harm to stop the plan. True, if Jamie had not helped, maybe the future would have changed, but it is odd that he doesn’t at least realize all will turn out okay based on present day Canterbury, where he had just left. I suppose this and the other two holes are the ultimate definition of suspending one’s beliefs.

Since I am on the subject, the one hole involves the first book, The Christmas Village. In that one, it is 2007 and Jamie travels to Canterbury 1932 after staring at his grandmother’s Christmas Village. In the sequel, Return to Canterbury, Jamie tells of his father after the two return from 1935. For one, his dad learned woodworking, making his mother the Christmas Village, the same one Jamie used in 2007 to transport to 1932, but not built until 2010. The Christmas Village could not have existed in 2007. The editor should have picked up on this and request a change.

The other involves Jamie and his dad’s returning from 1935 to the present 2008. They touch something that Jamie writes in 2008 while with Kelly’s granddaughter Kendall. The message could not have been anywhere in 1935, yet there it is. How? Suspending one’s beliefs and ignoring the inconsistencies that occasionally appear was necessary for me, yet the story of Jamie’s Return to Canterbury is very good. The writing is excellent. No typos or misspells to stall one’s reading. Editing is also good, except for the inconsistencies not caught. The story is a fun read. The three kids solving the crime and capturing the bad guys is much fun.

I like the 1930’s Canterbury, where everyone knows everyone and people gather to help each other as much as to celebrate. Jamie learns a few secrets, which turn out to be wonderful gems. I read this in two sittings, anxious to nab the diabolical Mr. Boggs and to find out what Jamie and his dad put in the time capsule—which would be opened a mere two years after they both return home to 2008.

Return to Canterbury felt like a gift. The story is a good old-fashioned tale about a good old-fashioned village of gentle (not genteel) people, loving and helping each other, though not legally or biologically related. Return to Canterbury gives one hope for the future—not about time travel but about the goodness of people.  It is also a story that will have some reminiscing and others longing for days as nice as in Canterbury. Return to Canterbury is an intriguing story solved by three industrious kids who each bring something different to the story.

Kids will enjoy Return to Canterbury. It is perfect middle grade fare. Jamie, Kelly, and Christopher are a solid team. Though each is great on his own, it is not enough without the other two. Teamwork, friendship, family, community, family-by-choice, time-travel, and a simpler life are all important in Return to Canterbury. I highly recommend this story. I bet The Christmas Village,which started the series, is just as worthy of your time

** I apologize. I try each week to shorten these reviews, but some books I have much I want to say, mainly to convince you the book is worth your time to read. Deciding what to leave out is beyond difficult. It has become nearly impossible.

RETURN TO CANTERBURY. Text copyright © 2013 by Melissa Ann Goodwin. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Melissa Ann Goodwin, Andover, MA.

Buy Return to Canterbury at AmazonB&NBook DepositorySmashbooks—author’s website—your local bookstore.

.

Learn more about Return to Canterbury HERE.

Meet the author, Melissa Ann Goodwin, at her website:  http://authormelissaanngoodwin.blogspot.com/

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Also by Melissa Ann Goodwin

The Christmas Village

The Christmas Village

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THE CHRISTMAS VILLAGE won the 2013 BLOGGER BOOK FAIR READER’S CHOICE AWARD for children’s action/adventure.

 

 

 

return to canterbury


Filed under: 5stars, Favorites, Historical Fiction, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: 1930's Canterbury Vermont, arson, children's book reviews, family of choice, friendship, hydroelectric power stations, Melissa Ann Goodwin, middle grade novel, time capsules, time travel

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22. Monday Mishmash 6/23/14


Happy Monday! Here's my mishmash of thoughts:
  1. Construction  I stayed at my parents' house for four days to avoid the construction here. It was a glorious, stress-free break but I'm home again now. Please tell me this construction can't last forever.
  2. Limited internet access  I will most likely not have internet for most of today and maybe tomorrow because of the construction. I'll have to catch up on responding to comments once it's back on.
  3. Curse of the Granville Fortune  I'm working on final proofreading for my MG fantasy, Curse of the Granville Fortune this week. Let's see if I can get this done with all the craziness over here.
  4. Client edit  I'm also working on a client edit this week. I may have to spend a lot of time outdoors to get this accomplished. The inside of my house is a nightmare.
  5. Swimming  This is how I'm staying sane this summer. I escape to the pool when I get really stressed. I wouldn't survive without it.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?


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23. MMGM Links (6/23/14)

I'm teaching a writing class at a local bookstore this evening (LA Peeps, feel free to join us at Once Upon a Time at 6pm) so prepping for that took up all of my MMGM shout-out time. But I DID put together links so...viola!

- Camp Half-Blood Reviews join the MMGM fun, and this week Xander is gushing about JANITORS. Click HERE to see what he thought, and welcome them to the group! 
- Birdie Reader is singing praises for WHEN DOGS BLOG. Click HERE to see why.  
- Julie DeGuia is highlighting WHAT THE MOON SAID. Click HERE to see what she thought.
- Jess at Reading Nook is in love with TESLA'S ATTIC. Click HERE to see her review.
- The B.O.B. has part two of their SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL post. Click HERE to see the rest of the fun. 
- Katie Fitzgerald is spreading some love for THE JULIAN CHAPTER: A WONDER STORY. Click HERE to see her review.
- Michelle Isenhoff is showcasing THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX. Click HERE to see why. 
- Michelle Mason is caught up in the EYE OF THE STORM . Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Suzanne Warr is enchanted with THE ENCHANTED FOREST. Click HERE to see her spotlight.  
- Jenni Enzor is shouting at the wind for ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY. Click HERE to read her review. 
- Greg Pattridge is giving a shout out to THE GREAT GREENE HEIST.  Click HERE to see why. 
- Sher A. Hart has a fun conversation between the author of DIEGO'S DRAGON, and his main character. Click HERE for all the fun.  
- Susan Olson has chills for THE FLOOD DISASTER. Click HERE to see why. 
- Dorine White is exploring THE CATACOMBS OF VANAHEIM. Click HERE to see her review.
- Rosi Hollinbeck is reviwing--and GIVING AWAY--SCREAMING AT THE UMP. Click HERE to check it out.
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome! 
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time!
- Jennifer Rumberger always has an awesome MMGM feature on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.    
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week.
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  



If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me. 

0 Comments on MMGM Links (6/23/14) as of 6/23/2014 9:17:00 AM
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24. TURNING PAGES: The Prank List, by Anna Staniszewski

It's official! Happy Summer!Reading outside usually has all the same specialness as reading in the bathtub -- it never works out well. Even with an e-reader, it can get dicey. I'm super photosensitive, so even with my Ginormous Bug sunglasses, I... Read the rest of this post

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25. Serafina's Promise: Review Haiku

More meaningful after
my church's mission trip.
Affecting and sweet.

Serafina's Promise by Ann E. Burg. Scholastic, 2013, 304 pages.

0 Comments on Serafina's Promise: Review Haiku as of 6/25/2014 7:20:00 AM
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