Sunday, July 22, 2012

I know I said no reviews....

Hi! I know I said I was going to lay off the reviews for a bit (I still review, just on Goodreads) but I issued myself a little challenge this week and the result left me with a bunch of great reads I just want to share!

So, I have a new branch to explore in addition to the library branch I already work in. I am making an effort to really inspect the shelves and get to know the new collection. As a result, I found myself with a pile of Middle Grade reads that just look like goodies.
Hence the Middle Grade Book Week Challenge.

I read only mg books for a week and tried to get as many done as I could. The result? I found some really great reads.

Here was my list (links go to Goodreads):

Edgar and Ellen The Tourist Trap by Charles Odgen

The Witch's Guide to Cooking With Children by Keith McGowan

See You at Harry's by Jo Knowles

The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann

Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker

The Amulet graphic novel series

I managed to get them all done except The Peculiar which I am almost finished.

The Amulet series is really great and it is perfect for kids who are ready for graphic novels but not yet ready to jump into Naruto or something heavier. Sometimes I have a kid who loves to read but has darker tastes. After they read the Series of Unfortunate Events I kind have a hole in my mental bibliography to steer these kids to. Now, I am going to throw them these terrible twins. Edgar and Ellen are mean little buggers (mad scientists in training). Apparently they are a cartoon series too, but I had never heard of them before. I thought the books were funny, smart, and a little Tim Burton-esque. Perfect.

I loved and hated See You At Harry's. When I picked it up, I thought it was going to be a sweet romance. Yeah. No. I was not prepared for what happened. And I have to say that although the book ripped my heart out, it put it back together in a good way. A truly great read. If it does not win awards- I'll be shocked.
Ditto Summer of the Gypsy Moths. In this one, two young ladies are being fostered by an older woman who cleans summer cottages. The woman dies, and the girls decide to fake that she is still alive to avoid being thrown into the foster care system. This is a great read. Not only does it explore what it means to create a new family when the one you have is maybe incomplete or broken, but it also explores what it means to be independent (the good and the bad). Another perfect read.

The Witch's Guide to Cooking With Children is meh. I loved the art, but the story is incomplete and comes across as an English translation that is missing parts. Some of the storylines don't add up, some are hinted at but unexplored and some just made no sense. It is a very short book that hits the right notes, but may leave the reader unsatisfied. The illustrations, however, are beautiful. In an unplanned connection, Sara Pennypacker wrote a book called The Sparrow Girl that Yoko Tanaka illustrated. Sara wrote Summer of the Gypsy Moths and Yoko illustrated The Witch's Guide.

One final thing. The reason I grabbed the Amulet series off the shelf was because I picked up a poster from the series at BEA. So, again, proof swag works. Not only am I now aware of the series, I highly recommend it and I can give that cool ass poster to a kid who may also come to love the series. Pay it forward!

Also, in case you were wondering, this week's mini challenge is to read three galleys I own. This is an attempt to get my giant BEA stack down (maybe it will stop swaying when I walk by and I will not die a horrible crushing death).


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