Saturday, August 14, 2010

Book Review - Mackenzie Blue

By: Tina Wells
Published by Harper Collins Childrens
Released on May 5, 2009
Source: The Publisher
Ages 8-12
5.0 stars - I highly recommend reading this book!

Synopsis (from Harper Collins Childrens): Meet Mackenzie Blue, aka Zee -

She has it all—smarts, talent, humor, and style. . . .

Is it enough to survive middle school?

Countdown to a 7th Grade Meltdown

1. Your BFF moves away.

2. Someone steals your diary and reveals your deepest secrets—to the entire class.

3. You have one chance to become a rock star and one chance to totally blow it. Guess what!? All three happened to me! School's a disaster already. Don't get me wrong—I love Brookdale Academy and I have a fabulous crew of friends. (At least, I think I do.) But, if I'm going to survive, I need all the help I can get!

I am so glad I have an Almost-Tween daughter who loves a fun, realistic heroine. I mean, what could be worse, starting off 7th Grade with your best friend moving to Paris, losing your diary which may have the winning song for the Teen Sing competition in it or well, there is the matter of that boy, Landon, the one with "the sun-bleached hair that hung slightly over his eyes" (p. 209)?

I loved how the book is interspersed with creative drawings of the characters, their IMs, notes and Zee's diary entries. The format will keep any tween, and even their mom, easily entertained and a reluctant reader would find it stimulating to follow the different formats presented.

I will say that both my daughter and I delighted in the book's lessons. It reminded both of us that it's important to be true to yourself, that your real friends will always be there for you and that yes, big brothers can be big bothers but they always have your back.

This is the first book in a current series of soon-to-be-four Mackenzie Blue books. I'm really looking forward to the remaining two books and the release of the fourth, Mackenzie Blue: Mixed Messages, this fall.

Book Review- The Zig Zag Kids Books 1 & 2

By Patricia Reilly Giff
Published by Random House Kids
Released on August 10th, 2010
Source: Publisher
3.5 stars- A Good Read

Number One Kid:
I'm #1. That's what Mitchell McCabe's favorite t-shirt says. He'd like to be Number One at the Zigzag Afternoon Center, where there are lots of fun activities to choose from: swimming, nature walks, field trips, art, even homework help. And YAY-there's snack time!

But Mitchell is worried. What if he's the only kid who doesn't get a prize on Prize Day? Luckily, Mitchell realizes he's a winner at something terrific. (taken from ARC cover)

Big Whooper:
It's Discovery Week at the Zigzag Afternoon Center!
Everyone writes their discoveries on a big sheet of paper in the hallway. But Destiny Washington can't think of anything new to discover.

Before she knows it, Destiny has told a BIG whopper. And snooty Gina, who's great at discovering things, know all about it. Destiny has to kind a way out of the whopper. In the end, she makes the best discovery of all. (taken from ARC cover)

I think this is a the start to a delightful series that both kids and those reading these books to them will enjoy. Patricia Reilly Giff introduces a group of lovable characters, with whom young kids will easily relate to. I think she has done a fabulous job at capturing the emotions kids go through from worries and excitements of meeting new friends, going to a new school, being with a group of kids they may not know, attending after school care and discovering the world around them.

The Zigzag Kids will be real and relatable to young readers and as they learn some important lessons with Mitchell and Destiny. Mitchell learns that he doesn't have to do something special to be a winner, as everyone is a winner. Destiny learns the importance of telling the truth. I would definitely recommend this series to young readers, parents and teachers.

Don't miss our blog tour with Patricia Reilly Giff happening today on Mundie Moms here

Book Review - The Quiltmaker's Gift

Author: Jeff Brumbeau
Illustrator: Gail De Marcken
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Ages: 5-8
Source: Library
Rating: 5 Stars

When a generous quiltmaker finally agrees to make a quilt for a greedy king but only under certain conditions, she causes him to undergo a change of heart.

This is a beautifully illustrated book with pages full of intricate details. A great story accompanies the illustrations making this one book you don't want to miss.

A powerful, greedy king demands a quiltmaker give him one of her quilts but she refuses. She only gives her quilts to the poor. Despite the kings threats and punishments the quiltmaker won't give in to the demands of the king. There is only one way she will give him a quilt.

A great lesson in the happiness that comes from being generous and helping others.
I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~