Fantastic Summer Reading from Nat Geo Kids!

Summer is right at our doorstep with pools opening and trips planned. Let’s not forget reading. It’s a life long skill not to forget when away from the classroom and homework. Reluctant readers and anyone else interested in hacks and facts have two handy paperbacks you can take with you on trips or enjoy them at home.

Up first is 101 LIFE HACKS:

When I first sat down to enjoy the 208 pages, my intention was to read about 50 pages each day until finished. Well, forget that—I was so fascinated by the tricks and techniques to make like simpler I couldn’t put it down.

My favorites included some nifty packing tips, a hiccup cure, and Lend a Hand for determining how much sunlight remains in a day. Also included are several stories on Hacker Heroes, real life individuals whose job is to create hacks in their line of work. You can even learn how to create your own life hacks.

Emphasis on colorful pictures with small amounts of text make this the perfect summertime read.

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This next one also is full of pictures but has more text spread out over the 256 pages: MORE SURPRISING STORIES BEHIND EVERYDAY STUFF.

The sequel to SURPRISING STORIES BEHIND EVERYDAY STUFF. I read this one in order of pages but a better way would be to glance through the table of contents and let your interests guide you where to begin. The chapter titles hint at the wide variety of stories.

  1. ODDS AND ENDS
  2. PLAY TIME
  3. WEAR IT
  4. HEALTH AND MEDICINE
  5. FABULOUS FOOD
  6. TRADITIONS
  7. ATHLETICS AND ACTIVITIES
  8. ANCIENT INVENTIONS
  9. CLOSE TO HOME
  10. DEVICES AND DOODADS

Each topic has 9 separate stories. You will be amazed and amused by the history of how things came to be popular. Too many favorites to list but a few include THE TILT-A-WHIRL, PIZZA, and ANETHESIA. Kid readers will be saying “Did you know…?” all summer long as they relay the facts to friends and family. The response will be be just one word: WOW!

MORE SURPRISING STORIES BEHIND EVERYDAY STUFF will make sure boredom never settles in this summer.

(I received copies of the books in exchange for my honest review)

Blogging about middle grade books or authors next week? Join the celebration.

All you have to do is blog about a middle grade book on a Monday (contests, author interviews, or anything middle grade related also count). Email me the title of the book or feature and a link to your blog at gpcolo[at]gmail[dot]com
Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book or author you’re featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.
Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)
*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.
Posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews, non fiction | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

MMGM for May 24, 2021

                 spring-clip-art-lrg_SPRING

Click on a happy face to reach a blogger’s post.

laugh2At ALWAYS in the MIDDLE I’m  reviewing THESE UNLUCKY STARS by  Gillian McDunn.

laugh2June McCrary Jacobs at Reading, Writing, & Stitch-Metic has a feature on the second book in Author Amanda Kingloff’s ‘Project Kid’ series: Project Kid–Things That Go!.

laugh2Author S.W. Lothian is back with us again and has a review of The Fowl Twins by Eoin Colfer. He calls it a great read.

laugh2Patricia Tilton at Children’s Books Heal reviews Sunshine by Marion Dane Bauer. A “Good summer read!”

laugh2Natalie Aguirre at Literary Rambles has a guest post by debut author Sam Subity and his agent Maura Kye Casela with a giveaway of The Last Warrior, a MG fantasy, and a query critique by Maura.

laugh2Maria Antonia at OF BOOKS, PHOTOGRAPHY, AND TEA features MERCI SUAREZ CHANGES GEARS by Meg Medina.

laugh2Alex Baugh is at THE CHILDREN’S WAR this week and reviews The Good War by Todd Strasser.

laugh2Rosi Hollinbeck has a review and GIVEAWAY of The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart. Rosi also shares three helpful links for her writing friends.

laugh2Karen Yingling at Ms. Yingling Reads always has a great MMGM review. Check it out along with her other features this past week including her thoughts on TRULY TYLER.

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun and get your own spot in the parade, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count–but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you’re featuring and a link to your blog at gpcolo (at) gmail (dot) com
(Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book you’re featuring)
You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.
Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)
*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.
Posted in MMGM Links | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

THESE UNLUCKY STARS

Annie Logan is trying to understand her life so far and the summer after sixth grade will bring her closer to understanding. THESE UNLUCKY STARS is a quiet story with first person narration by Annie. Her most painful thought is that she’s the reason her mother left the family eight years ago. Older brother and Dad don’t talk about this much. Instead, they’re like two peas in a pod, enjoying all the same things. Annie assumes Dad isn’t proud of her in any way. She feels unlucky in everything she does.

Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Annie loves to sit on the roof outside her bedroom window and draw. She doesn’t have any real friends until striking up a friendship with another girl near her age. It leads to Annie being challenged to do a prank. It goes terribly wrong when elderly Gloria Crumb takes a bad fall. Annie feels awful and agrees to help out the grouchy lady and her dog Otto during the summer.

Forty-two chapters include a lot of reflection and I found Annie a bit unlikable at first. This all changes as you watch Annie transform into a girl more ready for the world.

A gentle tale sure to please young readers looking for a contemporary family drama.

BOOK BIRTHDAY: March 2, 2021 PAGE COUNT: 288

FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: THESE UNLUCKY STARS by Gillian McDunn

  1. Small town life is wonderfully portrayed—from the hardware store Annie’s dad owns to the many residents who make it unique and special.
  2. An enjoyable set of scenes when Annie realizes the old lady she helps has a story all her own. First impressions are almost never correct.
  3. Annie seems so real. She’s a soon to be seventh grader who talks and acts in a way young readers will believe. Full of flaws and insecurities.
  4. The change in Annie is heartwarming as she begins to focus on other people in the town instead of wallowing in her own despair.
  5. Who wouldn’t want to read about the Rosy Maple Moth Festival? It brings the town together working on a common goal. Support and appreciation at every turn.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

GILLIAN McDUNN is the author of the middle-grade novels CATERPILLAR SUMMER (Bloomsbury, 2019) and THE QUEEN BEE AND ME (Bloomsbury, 2020). She has lived in California, Missouri, and North Carolina. Her favorite thing is spending time with her family. She also loves traveling, board games, and learning about the world we live in. She lives near Raleigh, North Carolina, with her family. (See more at her website)

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Comments can be left below. Be sure to visit all the other bloggers as we celebrate another Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.

Posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

BUILD IT SCIENCE BIOGRAPHIES

The set of three books is a fascinating, interactive look at 3 famous scientists. Names you’ve heard before but maybe not their full stories.

Each volume begins with a 2-page timeline of the person’s life. It sets the stage for what you are about to experience. Next comes a longer text section giving details of the struggles and successes each scientist faced. Insights are revealed and they go beyond the surface of straight facts. It’s a journey through their life’s work along with personal challenges. Finally, 6-7 chapters cover many of their inventions and work.

Several excellent features make this series standout. Over a dozen QR codes in each book are scattered throughout the pages (Those small black and white squares). Point your phone’s camera at each and you are whisked off to the Internet for maybe a video or interesting extensions of what you’ve been reading.

There are also BUILD IT pages you’ll know by the dark blue background. You can do fun hands-on projects like Build a Heart Model, Take a Ride in an Ocean Current, or Model an Atomic Structure. This is the way kids love to learn.

Photographs and illustrations mix in well with the text. There’s even a cartoon series where each of our famous scientists meet the modern day world.

The authors and Nomad Press have come up with a winning formula for the BUILD IT SCIENCE BIOGRAPHY set of books. Ones that make learning fun and memorable. Ben and Leonardo are available this month and Marie will follow in June. Great learning resources for home or in the classroom.

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(I received copies of the books in exchange for my honest review)

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Blogging about middle grade books or authors next week? Join the celebration.

All you have to do is blog about a middle grade book on a Monday (contests, author interviews, or anything middle grade related also count). Email me the title of the book or feature and a link to your blog at gpcolo[at]gmail[dot]com
Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book or author you’re featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.
Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)
*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.
Posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews, non fiction | Tagged , | 1 Comment

MMGM for May 17, 2021

                 ziXed7e4T

 Click on a penguin to reach a blogger’s post.

8gce7AoTdAt ALWAYS in the MIDDLE I’m  reviewing THE HOUSE THAT WASN’T THERE by Elana K. Arnold.

8gce7AoTdNatalie Aguirre at Literary Rambles interviews Payal Doshi with a giveaway of her MG fantasy Rea and The Blood of the Nectar.

8gce7AoTdJune McCrary Jacobs at Reading, Writing, & Stitch-Metic features a S.T.E.A.M. book entitled, Project Kid: 100 Ingenious Projects for Family Fun.

8gce7AoTdKim Aippersbach at Dead Houseplants returns to MMGM this week with a review of A WISH IN THE DARK.

8gce7AoTdPatricia Tilton at Children’s Books Heal shares Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre, by Carole Boston Weatherford and Floyd Cooper.

8gce7AoTdJenni Enzor is featuring Swipe by Evan Angler, a future world you just might find to be a little creepy.

8gce7AoTdCompletely Full Bookshelf returns and recommends This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews.

8gce7AoTdMaria Antonia at OF BOOKS, PHOTOGRAPHY, AND TEA features TEN GOOD AND BAD THINGS ABOUT MY LIFE by Ann M. Martin.

8gce7AoTdAlex Baugh is at THE CHILDREN’S WAR this week and reviews War and Millie McGonigle by Karen Cushman.

8gce7AoTdRosi Hollinbeck has a review and GIVEAWAY of Nobody Likes You, Greta Grump by Cathy Malkasian. Rosi also shares three helpful links for her writing friends.

8gce7AoTdKaren Yingling at Ms. Yingling Reads always has a great MMGM review. Check it out along with her other features this past week including her thoughts on UNSETTLED.

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun and get your own spot in the parade, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count–but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you’re featuring and a link to your blog at gpcolo (at) gmail (dot) com
(Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book you’re featuring)
You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.
Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)
*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.
Posted in MMGM Links | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

THE HOUSE THAT WASN’T THERE

The boy’s name was Adler. He was eleven and a half years old, and he had lived in the house at 15 Rollingwood Drive since before he could remember. In fact, he had been born there.

And so begins the story about the friendship between a boy and girl. My first experience with this type of plot dates back to when I read Bridge to Terabathia by Katherine Paterson. I was forever hooked on these coming of age tales and the characters’ quest to find understanding in each other’s life. With THE HOUSE THAT WASN’T THERE we have another great one to enjoy with a perfect combination: a contemporary story with a touch of magical realism.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Alder has always lived in his cozy little house in Southern California. And for as long as he can remember, the old, reliable, comforting walnut tree has stood between his house and the one next door. That is, until a new family—with a particularly annoying girl his age—moves into the neighboring house and, without warning, cuts it down.

Oak doesn’t understand why her family had to move to Southern California. She has to attend a new school, find new friends, and live in a new house that isn’t even ready—her mother had to cut down a tree on their property line in order to make room for a second floor. And now a strange boy next door won’t stop staring at her, like she did something wrong moving here in the first place.

As Oak and Alder start school together, they can’t imagine ever becoming friends. But the two of them soon discover a series of connections between them—mysterious, possibly even magical puzzles they can’t put together. At least not without each other’s help.

The third person narration stays close to Alder and Oak throughout the 30 chapters. The character arcs of each are a joy to follow. They won’t realize until the heartwarming ending how much their friendship means. A nice, page turning story for boys and girls.

BOOK BIRTHDAY: March 30, 2021 PAGE COUNT: 288

FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT THE HOUSE THAT WASN’T THERE by Elana K. Arnold

  1. The parent’s are ever present in each of their child’s life. Kind of refreshing not to have divorce driving the plot.
  2. A beautifully orchestrated cover urging readers to take take a closer look. What could be the meaning with two kittens around a tree stump? A big surprise for sure.
  3. Forget any boy stereotypes as Alder has a hidden passion: knitting. A skill he eventually shares.
  4. A compelling look at the difficulty transition brings to kids. Readers might be saying “I feel the same way” in many of the scenes.
  5. No character is left incomplete. There’s a story behind each and the reveals on both adults and children make the story shine.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ELANA K. ARNOLD is the author of critically acclaimed and award-winning young adult novels and children’s books, including the Printz Honor winner Damsel, the National Book Award finalist What Girls Are Made Of, and Global Read Aloud selection A Boy Called Bat and its sequels. Several of her books are Junior Library Guild selections and have appeared on many best book lists, including the Amelia Bloomer Project, a catalog of feminist titles for young readers. Elana teaches in Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program and lives in Southern California with her family and menagerie of pets. (From Elana’s author web site)

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Comments are welcome below and be sure to visit all of today’s MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY blogs.

Posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

SEA OF KINGS

A fantasy sea adventure like none other with a pirate ship taken over by a group of kids. The journey is led by Noa, the boy prince, and is loaded with action and great characters. So what brought this new crew to steal the ship and sail the swashbuckling seas to a far away location? The summary from Jolly Fish Press sets the course:

Thirteen-year-old Prince Noa has hated the ocean since the day it caused his mother’s death. But staying away from the sea isn’t easy on his tropical island home, where he’s stuck trying to keep up with his dim-witted and overconfident younger brother Dagan—the brawn to Noa’s brains.

When a vengeful pirate lays siege to their home, Noa and Dagan narrowly escape with their lives. Armed with a stolen ship, a haphazardly assembled crew, and a magical map that makes as much sense as slugs in a salt bath, the brothers set sail for the realm’s other kingdoms in search of help.

But navigating the sea proves deadlier than Noa’s worst fears. To free his home, Noa must solve the map’s confusing charts and confront the legendary one-eyed pirate before an evil force spreads across the realm and destroys the very people Noa means to protect.

BOOK BIRTHDAY: April 27, 2021 PAGE COUNT: 352

The relationship between Noa and his younger brother Dagan had me smiling. The are opposites in personality and their frequent disagreements were both funny and believable. There’s only one girl stowaway on the ship and she adds more mystery to the many other unanswered questions the crew is after. So many secrets to uncover!

These kids have no experience in dealing with life on a ship so their bravery and tears are often on display. The fast pace will appeal to many. Despite the length the plot never stalls. There’s a hint at a sequel in the Epilogue and maybe we’ll get to read more about Noa and his family in future stories. Highly recommended for boys and girls.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Melissa Hope earned her degree in English and is passionate about sharing her knowledge to help writers improve their craft and connect with the writing community. She escaped the frostbite normalcy of Canadian winters to live in Florida with her family, bipolar cat, and growing collection of scuba gear. Visit her website http://www.authormelissahope.com to watch free writing tutorials.

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Blogging about middle grade books or authors next week? Join the celebration.

All you have to do is blog about a middle grade book on a Monday (contests, author interviews, or anything middle grade related also count). Email me the title of the book or feature and a link to your blog at gpcolo[at]gmail[dot]com
Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book or author you’re featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.
Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)
*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.
Posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

MMGM for May 10, 2021

                 Free-clipart-mothers-day-biezumd-2

I’m a day late in the proclamation, but Moms deserve another day of recognition! Click a rose to reach a blogger’s post…

k8TzjppipAt ALWAYS in the MIDDLE I’m reviewing SHOE WARS by Liz Pichon, a fun, lighthearted plot.

k8TzjppipNatalie Aguirre at Literary Rambles has a guest post by Jessica Lawson and a giveaway of her MG fantasy How to Save a Queendom and a query critique by her agent Tina Dubois (formerly Wexler).

k8TzjppipJune McCrary Jacobs at Reading, Writing, & Stitch-Metic features the blog tour stop for a historical fiction novel, Finding Uncle Newton and his Nemesis. Included are an excerpt and giveaway.

k8TzjppipPatricia Tilton at Children’s Books Heal reviews The Dragon in the Library (A Kit the Wizard Book 1) by Louie Stowell.

k8Tzjppip Maria Antonia at OF BOOKS, PHOTOGRAPHY, AND TEA features THE LIGHT JAR by Lisa Thompson. In A Flash by Donna Jo Napoli.

k8TzjppipKaren Yingling at Ms. Yingling Reads always has a great MMGM review. Check it out along with her other features this past week including her thoughts on THE FIFTH QUARTER.

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun and get your own spot in the parade, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count–but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you’re featuring and a link to your blog at gpcolo (at) gmail (dot) com
(Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book you’re featuring)
You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.
Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)
*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.
Posted in MMGM Links | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

SHOE WARS

Meet Ruby and Bear. Their dad has just invented the most amazing thing ever — flying shoes! But his horrible boss Wendy Wedge knows that entering flying shoes will guarantee the Golden Shoe Award, and she will do anything to win the trophy.

Ruby and Bear must outwit a bully, infiltrate a shady company, and rescue their dad all while keeping the shoes hidden. This can only mean one thing. It’s . . . shoe wars! (from SCHOLASTIC BOOKS)

MY TAKE

A lighthearted romp in a place called Shoe
Town was just what I needed to provide an escape from the more serious side of the world. Don’t be concerned about the length (448 pages) as text is nicely spaced and almost every page has cartoon style illustrations to amuse readers. You’ll be flipping through the story in no time.

Some pages end with a cliff hanger and when you turn the page the plot surprise is revealed. Various sized text also add to the silliness along with quite a few “Foot” Notes. The flying shoes are fun to imagine having a pair. A great way to avoid traffic jams.

I see this as a perfect choice for reluctant readers and shoe lovers. The villains are well played and you will despise each one. Fast paced and full of surprising twists.

BOOK BIRTHDAY: MARCH 2, 2021

FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: SHOE WARS by Liz Pichon

  1. Ruby and Bear were pleasant main characters as was their sibling relationship. A brother and sister who truly care about each other and Dad.
  2. The hero coming forth at the end was not expected but oh so perfect.
  3. The houses where residents live are large shoe boxes. This town is all about shoes.
  4. Antagonist Wendy Wedge is one of the more distasteful characters you will ever find in a middle grade book. Well written and consistent right to the last page.
  5. The climatic end is at the Annual Shoe Awards ceremony. The gala is a perfect setting to bring all of the silliness to an end.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Liz Pichon studied graphic design and has worked as an art director in the music industry.

Her freelance design work has appeared on a range of products and she has written and illustrated a number of picture books, including My Big Brother Boris.

Liz is the author of the best selling TOM GATES series for 9+ readers, which has sold 5,000,000 books in the UK. Tom Gates has been translated into 44 languages and has sold over 11 million copies around the world.

The first book in the series THE BRILLIANT WORLD OF TOM GATES won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, The Red House Book Award Best Book for Young Readers and the Waterstone¹s Best Fiction for 5-12 year olds Prize.

The fourth book in the series TOM GATES: GENIUS IDEAS MOSTLY won the Blue Peter Award for Best Story.

In 2013, Liz Pichon was a World Book Day author with TOM GATES: BEST BOOK DAY EVER (SO FAR).

Liz is married with three children and lives in Brighton.

(For more about Liz and her books visit her well done author web page)

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Comments are welcome below. Be sure to also check out the other bloggers in our MMGM lineup.

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

TOP SECRET

National Geographic KIDS and authors’ Crispin Boyer & Suzanne Zimbler hit the mark with this new title. I was fascinated throughout the 192 pages. The hardback is one of those hard to put down books you’ll be going back to again and again. Each of the 8 chapters covers a different aspect of everything Top Secret:

  1. SECRET AGENCIES
  2. SECRET HISTORY
  3. SECRET IDENTITIES
  4. SECRET PLANS
  5. SECRET GADGETS
  6. SECRET PLACES
  7. SECRET CODES
  8. SECRETS ALL AROUND YOU

Full of colorful images along with fascinating insights and reveals, there are also fun secret codes along the way where you learn how to unravel a cipher. It’s a message written using a different order of the alphabet. The book starts out with CRACK THE CODE, a little practice with six common ciphers. I won’t be doing my grocery list this way but kids will have a new way of communicating secrets to their friends.

I started to compile a list of my 5 favorite secrets but stopped after reaching well over 2 dozen. Instead of any spoilers, here’s just a few of the fun reads:

  • America’s Fortress is a secret bunker located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I flashbacked 20 years ago when myself and a group of teachers were granted a tour. It was truly a special day. 350 people work there to keep our country safe and to track Santa Claus each December.
  • Tucked behind Lincoln’s head at Mount Ruhsmore is a secret chamber.
  • Skip over this section if you don’t want to know magician’s secrets. Many of them are explained. Now I know how that lady gets sawed in half.
  • Tools of the Tradecraft include a variety of spy tools. How about the UMBRELLA DART GUN, an ingenius LETTER REMOVER, or the disgusting DOO-DOO TRANSMITTER? Yes, pictures and full details are provided.
  • Full pages devoted to THE SECRET SAUCER, AREA 51, and INSIDE FORT KNOX had me smiling and wanting more.

There is so much to enjoy here for middle grade on up through adults. I’ll end this brief look with a secret code based on the ATBASH CIPHER summarizing my thoughts on TOP SECRET:

Z UFM, RNNVIHREV VCKVIRVMXY

I’m sure you are stumped so here’s the decoded version:

A FUN, IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE

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(I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.)

Blogging about middle grade books or authors next week? Join the celebration.

All you have to do is blog about a middle grade book on a Monday (contests, author interviews, or anything middle grade related also count). Email me the title of the book or feature and a link to your blog at gpcolo[at]gmail[dot]com
Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book or author you’re featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.
Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)
*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.
Posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews, non fiction | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments