Welcome this week's edition of Marvelous Middle Grade Monday! You can find out more this weekly meme by visiting debut MG author, Shannon Messenger's website.
By: Elise Primavera
Published by: Simon & Schuster Kids
Released on: June 12th, 2012
Ages: 8 & Up
Source: book to review from publisher
4.5 Stars: I Really Enjoyed It
Libby Thump Riding Princess is a middle grade illustrated novel about a young girl who wants riding lessons more than anything else in the world. With passion and her love for horses nothing can stop Libby. She tries to live up to her potential and in so doing changes the lives of everyone around her. - quoted from Goodreads
This is the kind of story I would have devoured as a young reader. It's a great realistic fiction story with an engaging plot line for readers in 3rd grade and up. It's a heartwarming story with a message, and I love books like this for kids. Young Libby LOVES horses. She draws horses, and wants nothing more than to be able to ride them. Through a series of unfortunately events it's Libby's sister who gets to have the ridding lessons while Libby has to look on.
The not riding problem isn't the only issue Libby is learning to deal with. Her parent's don't listen to her, her old best friend is always trying to one up her, and Libby is caught between the enjoying her childhood, and hitting that stage where childhood starts to take a back seat to the starting to grow up phase. The thing I loved about Libby is how resilient this young girl is. Despite how hard it is to watch her sister ride, and having to deal with a best friend who doesn't treat you like a best friend any more, Libby does all she can to just deal with what's she facing, but learning to find ways to live up to her potential.
I liked that Libby never gives up, though I understand her feelings of frustration through out this short, fast paced read. She's a fun character to get to know, and one I enjoyed reading about. I also liked that she learns that she doesn't always have to win and be the best at everything, as long as she tries to do her best that's all that matters. Libby's hard work and dedication to finding a way to do something she really wants to do pays off big in the end for her. Being a mom, I was really frustrated with Libby's Mom in this story. I didn't like how out of touch she seemed to be with daughter, as that translated to Libby and myself that she didn't care for her. I think their relationship is one that will have daughters and moms talking if they read this book out loud together. It definitely makes for good conversation about the importance of taking the time to listen to your kids, like really listen to what they're saying and not just having them do things you think they should or feel like they'll like it despite their desperate protests.
Elise does a fabulous job at capturing the feelings and emotions of what it's like to be a ten year old who's caught between being a child and wanting to be grown up. She has Libby face realistic friendship issues and has her learn to find ways to still achieve the dreams she's always wanted. This is a book young girls would really enjoy, and those who love horses. I'd definitely recommend picking this one up!