Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give Kathryn’s (at Book Date) “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” meme a kidlit focus, reviewing books in children’s literature (picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, or anything in the world of kidlit). If you enjoy this type of reading, join us every Monday!
Pretty in Punxsutawney
Laurie Boyle Crompton
January 15, 2019
My thanks to NetGalley and Blink for releasing an e-ARC of this book to me before publication so I could offer an honest review. Pretty in Punxsutawney is the story of red-headed Andie whose family has just moved to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania (home of THE groundhog for Groundhog Day) the summer before her senior year of high school. Having spent her entire summer hanging out at the local theater, she knows exactly two people from her new school: Colton and Tom. Andie has a pretty strong crush on Colton and is elated when he offers to drive her to school on their very first day of school. The night before the big “first day of school,” Andie and her mom settle in to watch Pretty in Pink, one of her mom’s favorite movies (in fact, she is named after red-headed “Andie” in the movie). By the end of the infamous prom scene, something feels off. This uncomfortable feeling clings to Andie as she walks into her first day of school, frustrated over a wrong ending that should be remedied. What she soon discovers is that she will end up repeating this first day of school until she gets it right — including figuring out who she has real feelings for and what her primary purpose should be at Punxsutawney High.
This book really took me back to high school (for me, that was 1987-1991) mixing together all sorts of 80s and 90s memories and movies, such as: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Weird Science, Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, and, of course, Groundhog Day. There was plenty of discussion about the composition of each teenage clique (cheerleaders, goths, jocks, thespians, etc.) as Andie’s experiences reveal that we only judge one another harshly when we don’t understand and empathize with one another. After many attempts at her “first day of school,” Andie learns it is important to seek the best in everyone because we’re all fighting difficult battles. But how will she share this revelation with her entire class?
As the book is focused on the senior class of Punxsutawney High, this would be considered a very “clean” novel for that age group. The kids don’t use profanity, they’re not having sex or doing drugs, and basically everyone is shown to be a good human being, despite their personal struggles or salty personalities. There’s one party with underage drinking, one incident of sexual harassment, and the mention of a student struggling with bulimia. It’s mild enough that even middle schoolers will be able to read and enjoy it. NOTE: When you pick this book up, make sure you grab a box of Whoppers candy (it applies!) and maybe pop in some Cyndi Lauper background music.
Neal Shusterman & Jarrod Shusterman
October 2, 2018
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
This book was seriously a nightmare! I grew up in an area of Texas where we often had water shortages and were regularly limited on our water usage throughout every summer (only water lawns on Tuesdays/Thursdays, etc.). I’m also very much aware of how little awareness we collectively have over environmental concerns and the effects on our rapidly changing climate. So this was so hard to read because of the horrific possibility of these events transpiring one day. Yet simultaneously, it was so hard to put down because I HAD to see how it was going to all end. The story takes place in southern California where they experience a “tap-out” when the drinking water supply runs DRY. The grocery stores are flooded with people fighting over water and, eventually, the desperate mobs begin to turn against families who are well prepared for the drought (demanding they share their supply). The focus of the story is on a group of teens who are attempting to reach a safe house where they will have plenty of water, food, and other survival supplies. The terrifying part of this novel, however, is how quickly society falls apart when they become utterly desperate for one more sip of water. People turn against friends and neighbors without hesitation. Oh my… A frightening, but believable outcome! Be prepared to drink LOADS of water while you’re reading this one. I was surprised to find myself visiting the bathroom far more often than normal at the mere suggestions of not having enough water. LOL
King of Attolia
(The Queen’s Thief #3)
Megan Whalen Turner
January 4, 2006
One more book from “The Queen’s Thief” series down, three more to go (although the last one will be published in March of 2019). This is an older series and I really cannot share much of book #3 without spoiling things from book #1 and #2, so just do yourself a favor and pick up the first book of the series and give it a go. With each new book, I keep thinking I’ve arrived at a new favorite. The development of these characters/kingdoms is so well done. I have a feeling I will be re-reading this series once I get to the end. Hubby has even given me the green light to purchase the set for our home library. YAY! I already have book #4 checked out and ready to go.
The Princess and the Moon
Gao Qing, Illustrator
August 1, 2018
Cardinal Media Llc
I picked this picture book up from the public library and couldn’t help but smile as I read it. It’s from a series of Fables and Folktales being published by Cardinal Media. The story is about a princess who wants to eat the moon for her birthday. Her father wants to fulfill her request, but he doesn’t know how to accomplish such a task. Everyone has ideas of how to make this possible, but none satisfy the princess. Finally, a young boy has the ultimate answer. Best of all, he can fulfill her request and feed all the hungry children at the same time. This book would work very well with the study of the moon cycle as the moon changes shapes throughout the story.
The Spooky Express Nebraska
Marcin Piwowarski, Illustrator
August 1, 2017
I don’t imagine this book will be as exciting to others as it is to Nebraskans, but it looks like it has been reproduced for all states (using various cities throughout the state in the rhymes). So you can go find a copy for YOUR state. It’s a 30-paged book with a long “spooky” rhyming poem about a journey across the entire state on a spooky train. Everyone ends up back where they should be by the end and the final page announces “Happy Halloween.” What I especially liked about it is that it included our tiny town’s name on one of the pages!! I will plan to check it out again closer to Halloween, next fall! Here’s one page spread as an example:
To Be Read:
I’ve already started both of these great books and I cannot wait to finish them!