Monday, August 16, 2010

Book Review: Mackenzie Blue - Friends Forever?

By: Tina Wells
Published by Harper Collins Childrens
Released on June 22, 2010
Source: The Publisher
Ages 8-12
5.0 stars - I highly recommend reading this book!

Synopsis (from Harper Collins Childrens): Mackenzie Blue is hitting the trails!

It's time for Brookdale Academy's camping field trip, but Zee has much more to deal with than a lesson about nature. . . .

1. My BFF, Ally, is visiting all the way from Paris! Ooh la la!
2. My friends and I are so going to win the environmental scavenger hunt!

1. We have to stay in teeny-tiny log cabins. How will we all fit?
2. The legendary (and terrifying) Mountain Man . . .

The third book in the Mackenzie Blue series really hit home for me. You see, while the other books were about Zee staying true to herself, this one was about friendship. Zee's BFF, Ally, returns to visit from France just in time for Brookdale Academy's camping trip. I could so relate to Zee's lack of enthusiasm at being outdoors for a week with both her old and new friends. It's awkward, trying and makes for some great reading as we get to see Zee grow up and realize some valuable lessons on friendship.

A pivotal moment in Zee's growth occurs with this diary entry (p. 121):

Hi Diary,

Does Ally hate me? I know I hirt her feelings. But, I didn't mean to . I just want everyone to get along. I think Ally is mad at Chloe, but it's not Chloe's fault.

What if we had done Ally's idea instead of Chloe's? Would Chloe be mad at me? Maybe having a lot of friends means you just can't win.


And then to make matters more interesting, Zee's older brother tells her the legend of the Mountain Man. Is he real? Is he just a scary story? Why is he looking for his missing leg amongst unsuspecting campers?

I loved the other two Mackenzie Blue books, but this is my favorite by far. To watch Zee begin to comprehend complexities like friendship in a very real way makes for some head-nodding moments as you turn the pages. If you have a tween girl in your life, I highly recommend getting the Mackenzie Blue series. The books teach valuable lessons in a subtle, realistic way that even your most sophisticated tween will enjoy. And once again, the illustrations, IMs and diary entries make the story even more current.

The fourth book, Mackenzie Blue: Mixed Messages is one that I'm really looking forward to and it's release date is November 23, 2010. That's just in time for holiday gift buying and I already know a tween girl who will have this book in her stocking and a Mama who will gladly read it with her on Christmas Day.
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 ~