Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Read-a-Thon #1

With Monday off of work I managed to get more reading done than I expected I would.  I finished two books.  I won't be able to get as much reading done for the rest of the week, but I hope to finish at least two more.

written by Audrey Couloumbis
Random House Books for Young Readers, 2010
ISBN: 978-0375856310
Grades 3-6
Reviewed from purchased e-book.
Nominated for Beehive Book Award Fiction.
Opinions expressed are solely my own.

BLURBA heartwarming holiday story from Audrey Couloumbis, the Newbery Honor–winning author of Getting Near to Baby. With beautiful writing and an endearing young narrator so honest and full of hope that you can't help but fall in love with him, Audrey Couloumbis tells a story, of a young boy and the grandfather that he’s just getting to know, that will make readers laugh and cry and, most of all, appreciate the gift of family.

It's a few days before Christmas when ten-year-old Jake's mom breaks her leg, ending up in the hospital. For as long as Jake can remember, it's been just him and his mom. So with no one else to look after him, the hospital contacts the gruff granddad that Jake only knows through awkward twice-a-year phone calls. When Granddad shows up, he's nothing like Jake expected. And he brings a dog with him—a nightmare dog, Jake thinks at first. But as Jake gets to know his grandfather and a makeshift family of friends and neighbors comes together around him and his mom, he realizes that this might not be such a bad Christmas after all.

I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would based on the premise.  When it first came out I chose not to read it because it didn't sound interesting to me.  But I've changed my mind.  It turns out that Jake is a sympathetic character, a boy who's had to grow up faster than most kids because of his single mother's personal struggles.  When his mother gets injured, Jake is faced with changes in his universe, the most significant of which is the arrival of the grandfather he doesn't know.  I liked the theme of accepting people by learning to see their good traits, even if you can find only one at first.  This would make a thoughtful read-a-loud. Recommended.

It's Raining Cupcakes
written by Lisa Schroeder
Aladdin, 2010
ISBN:  978-1416990857
Grades 3-6
Reviewed from purchased copy for Beehive Book Award Fiction consideration.
Opinions expressed here are solely my own.

BLURBTwelve-year-old Isabel is dying to get out of Oregon. She spends her free time in the library, reading and dreaming about faraway places. When her mom decides to open a cupcake shop in their little town of Willow, Isabel feels just like buttercream frosting to a cupcake-stuck. It seems as if it will be another disappointing summer, until Isabel learns of a baking contest. If she can come up with a winning recipe, she might have a chance of competing in the bake-off in New York City! But Isabel's best friend, Sophie, is also entering the contest, and things always seem to go Sophie's way. To make matters worse, Isabel and her mom don't exactly see eye-to-eye on the type of recipe Isabel should enter. In this sweet treat by popular teen author Lisa Schroeder, Isabel discovers that maybe it's not about where you go in life as much as it is about enjoying the view from wherever you are.

I am not much of a cook, so I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy this book.  Turns out, I enjoyed it quite a bit.  Isabel is sympathetic character, who is trying to figure out her world.   Her struggles to cope with her mother's lack of gumption and her best friend's perfections are realistic and I rooted for her to find her way.  Each chapter is named after a kind of cupcake and they sounded so good they made me hungry.  I immediately went out and bought me some red velvet cupcakes, which I am thoroughly enjoying.  I also purchased the sequel about Isabel's best friend, Sophie, hopefully it will be just as good.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these, Heidi! Not familiar with the first one, so will be sure to check it out. Thinking I am gong to have to create a post of all my new to reads once this is all done, lol!


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