Some breaking news before the review–The Cybil’s Finalists have been announced! Go here for all the nominees. Below are the choices for Middle Grade Fiction. I’ll be helping to judge the winner, but fortunately I have a head start as I’ve reviewed 5 of the 7.
- FULL OF BEANS by Jennifer L. Holm
- GHOST by Jason Reynolds
- IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF CRAZY HORSE by Joseph Marshall
- MS. BIXBY’S LAST DAY by John David Anderson
- SAVE ME A SEAT by Sarah Weeks
- SLACKER by Gordon Korman
- SOME KIND OF HAPPINESS by Claire Legrand
Now let’s get going with my first review of a 2017 title…
Inciting event. It’s the key scene early in a story setting the stage for the problem the main characters try and overcome. In THE JOLLY REGINA there needed to be a good one because Jaundice and Kale Bland are the most boring characters ever created. Of course they wouldn’t have it any other way. They love the boring life. Ever since their parents left and never came back, they darn socks and watch the grass grow.
Then someone is at the door. Inciting event? You bet it is in the form of a pirate who kidnaps the girls and takes them to the Jolly Regina, an all female pirate ship. From then on it’s a rollicking adventure as they learn the ways of pirate life while trying to get their old one back. The mystery of their missing parents also begins to unravel.
The twenty-five chapters are short with snappy dialog and laugh out loud results. This would be a great first book for a child entering the MG years. It’s an easy read that keeps entertaining with each step down the plank.
PUBLICATION DATE: 2017 PAGE COUNT: 176
FULL PLOT (From AMAZON) In the spirit of A Series of Unfortunate Events and the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series, The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters will captivate middle-grade readers looking for humor, hijinks, and a swashbuckling good time. Meet Jaundice and Kale Bland, two sisters who avoid excitement at any cost. Together, they patiently await the return of their parents, who left on an errand years ago and have never returned.
One day, the Bland sisters are kidnapped by an all-female band of pirates. They’re unwillingly swept into a high-seas romp that might just lead to solving the mystery of what happened to their parents. With whimsical illustrations and Roald Dahl–esque wit, The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters is the visually stunning, laugh-out-loud funny start to a new series for readers who are looking for an anything-but-bland adventure.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: THE UNINTENTIONAL ADVENTURES OF THE BLAND SISTERS: THE JOLLY REGINA by Kara LaReau
- Kids won’t get some of the references but it had me giggling. For instance… Captain Ann Tennille.
- The fun pen and ink sketches throughout also added a smile.
- A challenging vocabulary word is defined at the beginning of each chapter along with a drawing depicting the word. A great way to increase comprehension.
- A fine supporting cast of characters make the story complete. They each have their own mini-story and you’ll cringe but also maybe grin as to how Peg lost her leg.
- This has series potential, and I’m sure we will find Jaundice and Kale back for another adventure. Young readers rejoice! Yo Ho Ho!
FAVORITE LINES: The Bland Sisters look forward most to the evenings, when they entertain themselves by reading the dictionary to each other, then staring at the wallpaper until they fall asleep.
AUTHOR QUOTE: I discovered I had talent for singing and acting in high school, and that I had little interest in studying, or even attending certain classes. I possessed a master key to the school (don’t ask how I got it) and became an expert at forging certain parents’ and teachers’ signatures, in order to spend time in the school theater, away from Gym class. (To this day, I maintain a pathological fear of being hit in the face with a volleyball.) Eventually one of my friends got me involved with the school paper, which led to many late nights spent laying out each issue (by hand) and eating a lot of Domino’s pizza. The life of a writer began to intrigue me. (For more visit Kara’s Author Web Site)
Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Click on the comments link below.
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.