MMGM for 6/4/18

The #MMGM LINKS for June 4, 2018

(HAPPY JUNE! Click on a cool summer sun to reach each blogger’s post)

I have a feature on Time’s new series HEROES OF HISTORY. First out are books on Alexander Hamilton and George Washington.
Joanne R. Fritz at My Brain on Books joins us this week with a review of JUST UNDER THE CLOUDS.
Author June McCrary Jacobs is running another hands-on S.T.E.A.M. feature on a book entitled, ‘MAKE: Paper Inventions‘, by Kathy Ceceri.
Kara Armstrong joins us again with another great review. She has The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell, by Chris Colfer.
Suzanne Warr at Tales from the Raven features an interview with MG author Cindy Baldwin, and a giveaway of her debut book Where the Watermelons Grow.
Rosi Hollinbeck at the Write Stuff is reviewing and giving away BOB by Rebecca Stead and Wendy Mass.
Patricia Tilton at Children’s Books Heal returns this week with a  review of book one in a fantasy novel series, Riders of the Realm: Across the Dark Waters, by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez.
Completely Full Bookshelf is recommending Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead.
Michael Gettel-Gilmartin, The Middle Grade Mafioso, is back with a review of Kirby Larson’s DASH.
A.L. Foster at The B.O.B returns to MMGM after a long absence with a review of Big Fish by Daniel Wallace.
Karen Yingling always has great MMGM picks. Be sure to read her review today along with the many other choices she posted the past week.
If you would like to join in the MMGM fun and get your own spot on the walkway, 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.

 

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HEROES OF HISTORY

WELCOME TO ANOTHER MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY!

Most middle graders have little background on the politics and leaders of our country—especially from the past. What they do know is heard through parents/teachers, the 24/7 endless new cycle, and social media. There’s not a better way to open their eyes than this new series from Time. The stories take you back to how the United States was formed and the people responsible. It’s not just a retelling of the events and lives, but an in depth and often eye opening exploration of these inspiring figures.

This Fall brings the next two titles featuring Eleanor Roosevelt and Thurgood Marshall. First up though are Alexander Hamilton and George Washington due out this week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a few of the highlights:

ALEXANDER HAMILTON He’s on the ten-dollar bill and in the past few years has received renewed interest due to a little musical bearing his name. Hamilton was the nation’s first secretary of treasury. His life ended tragically in a duel with Aaron Burr, essentially ending both of their careers with the negative publicity it caused for Burr.

But the story goes deeper as to what happened in between his birth (1755) and his death by that bullet in 1804. He spent the first seventeen years in the Caribbean islands of Nevis and St. Croix. Tragedy sent him to America in 1772. He assisted George Washington and led troops into war with the British. Writing and politics were his calling card and he had a big role in the formation of the two party system.

Told in seven colorful chapters, the pages also include dozens of reproductions of artworks, photographs, artifacts and illustrations. There is also a timeline appearing at the bottom of numerous pages and in the back of the book. The side stories are fascinating, including his involvement in what may have been the first political inappropriate scandal in America.

Perfect for middle graders who love history and anyone else who need the reminder of what is was like when our country had its start.

GEORGE WASHINGTON: Everyone knows the name and now you can get to know the person through this second book in the Heroes of History series. The story of his short life (67 years) will surprise many readers from his leadership in many wars to his rise as the first president. The pages are loaded with fascinating tidbits about his family and work life…

*George and Martha never had any children, although she had two from a first marriage.

*I can not tell a lie! It’s a huge myth that he ever chopped down a cherry tree.

*Washington was probably not standing in the boat during the famous crossing of the Delaware River like the famous painting portrays. He would have gone overboard.

You’ll also learn of the struggles he had with keeping this country together in the early stages with political squabbles both at home and abroad. His beloved residence known as Mt. Vernon is also featured.  The back pages are filled with his own writings along with background on reasons for the words he wrote. Finally, you will fully understand General Henry Lee’s words at Washington’s funeral service—

“first in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.”

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Make a comment if you have time by clicking on the comments link below. I enjoy reading all of them.

Posted in non fiction, Reviews | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

EVANGELINE OF THE BAYOU

There are many scary things lurking in the deep south—New Orleans  and the Louisiana bayou to be more specific. Let me begin with the Rougarou,  a werewolf type creature pulled from French folklore. Not scared yet? How about an Acadian fang worm or a shadow croucher?

If you enjoy stories about swamp witches, the supernatural, and having a little scare in your reading then this one is for you. It’s not the kind of tale I’d normally gravitate toward, but I’m glad I did.

Evangeline is a 12-year-old haunt huntress in training. She’s one tough cookie most of the time. Her mother was killed doing the necessary work of a huntress by helping those in need—ones who have creature or supernatural problems in their homes or themselves. Evangeline lives with her grandmother, an expert haunt huntress. They take on a job in New Orleans to help a mother possessed by some horrible creature.

At this point the mystery really takes off. Evangeline learns more about her family and questions whether she really is meant to be a haunt huntress. The final 100 pages is a hold onto your seat ride you can’t put down.

RELEASED: MAY 1, 2018  PAGE COUNT: 320

THE PLOT (from Amazon)

Twelve-year-old haunt huntress apprentice Evangeline Clement spends her days and nights studying the ways of folk magic, honing her monster-hunting skills while pursuing local bayou banshees and Johnny revenants.

With her animal familiar sure to make itself known any day now, the only thing left to do is prove to the council she has heart. Then she will finally be declared a true haunt huntress, worthy of following in the footsteps of her long line of female ancestors.

But when Evangeline and her grandmother are called to New Orleans to resolve an unusual case, she uncovers a secret that will shake her to the soles of her silver-tipped alligator-skin boots.

Set in the evocative Louisiana bayou and the vibrant streets of New Orleans, Evangeline’s is a tale of loyalty and determination, the powerful bonds of friendship and family, and the courage to trust your gut no matter how terrifying that might be.

FIVE THINGS I LIKED ABOUT:  EVANGELINE OF THE BAYOU

by JAN ELDREDGE

  1. Julian, the son of the lady Evangeline and her grandmother are trying to help. With his actions and life so different from her own, they despise each other at first. Julian will have nothing to do with supernatural nonsense. Their interactions give the story a nice touch of how friendships are sometimes formed under the worse conditions.
  2. A glossary of monsters, ghosts, and assorted supernatural entities is an informative and fun addition.
  3. The setting rose from the pages in all its Louisiana charm. It’s truly a magical place.
  4. The characters are what make this story special—both human and otherwise.
  5. The early pages drop a few hints, although it isn’t until the end that you recall the perfect set-up for how everything ends.

ALL ABOUT THE AUTHOR (From Jan’s web site)

Jan was born and raised in the swampy state of Louisiana where as a child she would often sneak into her older brother’s room to read through his numerous monster magazines and scary comic books, and where she would also gaze at his collection of classic movie monster models like the Wolfman, Frankenstein’s Monster, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

In addition to her interest in cats, magic, and assorted eldritch things that go bump in the night, she enjoys researching bizarre superstitions, exploring old cemeteries, and visiting assorted theme parks. Halloween is her favorite holiday, but that probably goes without saying.

Jan now lives in the swampy state of Florida with her wonderful husband, three pleasant children, and four devious cats, in a house that just might be haunted.

Jan Eldredge writes spooky middle grade stories. Sometimes people mistakenly address her as Jan Eldritch, which is quite fine with her since eldritch is her favorite word. (Eldritch- adjective eerie; ghostly; supernatural; unearthly.)

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Coming up next week is another…
If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book 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.
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MIDDLE GRADE in the NEWS 5/31/18

Here are several news and special feature articles I’ve enjoyed the past week (If you missed any of the previous posts click here to see them all):

1. I was saddened by the recent loss of author Richard Peck. This article from the past week delves much deeper than the typical obituary into his life and love of writing.

2. Ali Standish opens up a can of worms with her column Are Middle Grade Authors Getting it Wrong? I tend to agree with what she uncovered.

3. Road trip! But if you have six hours to go with a bored middle school kid in the back seat it might seem more like eternity. Why not turn on an audio book? Here are some recommendations in Audiobooks For Summer Trips With Kids.

I’ll be back on Friday with a review of EVANGELINE OF THE BAYOU.

Posted in Middle Grade News | Tagged | 2 Comments

MMGM for 5/28/18

The #MMGM LINKS for May 28, 2018

(Happy Memorial Day! Click on a U.S. flag to read each post)

I have a review of SOME VERY MESSY MEDIEVAL MAGIC by C. Lee McKenzie. Scroll down to read or select the U.S. flag.
Aspiring author Kara Armstrong has a review of Shannon Messenger’s book, Keeper of the Lost Cities.
Author June McCrary Jacobs presents a special non-fiction Memorial Day feature on a book entitled, ‘Arlington National Cemetery‘.
Completely Full Bookshelf is recommending Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar.
Megan at Ginger Mom Reads is reviewing Geronimo Stilton: Curse of the Cheese Pyramid.
In honor of Memorial Day Author Elizabeth Van Tassel at THORN & Vine has The Door In The Wall by Marguerite de Angeli, which won the Newbery Medal in 1950.
Ben Langhinrichs at My Comfy Chair has a wonderful MMGM book this week called Nadya Skylung and the Cloudship Rescue by Jeff Seymour.
Karen Yingling always has great MMGM picks. Be sure to read her review today along with the many other choices she posted the past week.
If you would like to join in the MMGM fun and get your own spot on the walkway, 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.

 

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SOME VERY MESSY MEDIEVAL MAGIC

This third book in the Adventures of Pete and Weasel is actually the first for me. I had heard about the series but could never fit it in to my busy review schedule. I’m glad to finally get a start on the series.

Book one,  ALLIGATOR’S OVERHEAD, introduces readers to twelve-year-old Pete. The adventure includes alligators, witches, and a spooky mansion as Pete learns about his new wizard powers. Book two, THE GREAT TIME LOCK DISASTER, has Pete and Weasel traveling back in time to Victorian England. Pete messes with a time lock that could lead to catastrophic results.

I had no problem starting with book three as hints to the past adventures are thrown in along the way. All you have to know is Pete made a big mistake and now has to travel back to 1173 England and fix it before history is changed. The story is an enjoyable ride as Pete stands in for a missing nephew, Peter of Bramwell, and everyone thinks Weasel is his servant. They have to learn how to ride horses, understand some very weird language spoken at the time, and figure out the visiting young duke’s intentions. Other characters add to the fun including an alligator and horse, both of which Pete can communicate with through thoughts.

The mystery of how to save the past is woven with some magic in the often dreaded Dark Woods and The Circle of Stone. The action and often humorous dialog keep the story moving forward in a quick read. The plot points are wrapped up nicely and this would make a great book for a summer read.

PUBLICATION DATE: 2018   PAGE COUNT: 176

FULL PLOT (From DANCING LEMUR PRESS)

Pete’s stuck in medieval England!

Pete and his friend Weasel thought they’d closed the Time Lock. But a young page from medieval times, Peter of Bramwell, goes missing. His absence during a critical moment will forever alter history unless he’s found.

There’s only one solution – fledgling wizard Pete must take the page’s place. Accompanied by Weasel and Fanon, Pete’s alligator familiar, they travel to 1173 England.

But what if the page remains lost – will Pete know what to do when the critical moment arrives? Toss in a grumpy Fanon, the duke’s curious niece, a talking horse, and the Circle of Stones and Pete realizes he’s in over his young wizard head yet again…

FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT:

SOME VERY MESSY MEDIEVAL MAGIC by C. LEE Mckenzie

  1. The time period is one that will pull in many young readers. It’s a fascinating place and one you’d love to try out for yourself—maybe for just a day.
  2. Themes of loyalty and friendship will make you cheer for the two very different boys, Pete and Weasel.
  3. The shorter length will entice readers who shy away from those other magical books—the ones that give you a workout with their 400-700 pages.
  4. I laughed at the get-ups Pete and Weasel were sent back to medieval times with:  Halloween costumes from K-mart.
  5. You know you’ve read a good story when you’re mind immediately ponders what other adventures these two could have in the future.

FAVORITE LINES:

Weasel’s lips were moving and Pete was pretty sure he knew what he was saying. Weasel always said it, or something like it, when they got into a mess together.

“Why me? Why do I get into trouble every time he gets into trouble? Just tell me?”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

C. Lee McKenzie has a background in Linguistics and Inter-Cultural Communication, but these days her greatest passion is writing for young readers. When she’s not writing she’s hiking or traveling or practicing yoga or asking a lot questions about things she still doesn’t understand.

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Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Click on the comments link below.

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THE SNOW QUEEN—A GRAPHIC NOVEL

Hans Christian Andersen wrote The Snow Queen in 1844. It is a beloved tale, perhaps not know to modern day middle graders.  A nice two-page introduction sets up the story and from there it takes off. The remaining pages are all in color with a comic book feel.

The cast of characters are varied from Gerta and Kay to various animals and of course the Snow Queen. The drawings focus mostly on faces, showing the emotional struggles and scariness as the tale unfolds. Well done indeed.

Graphic novels have no problem finding young readers and this one will for sure have a line of them waiting to read. It was in fact the inspiration for Disney’s Frozen.

The Official Plot (From Barnes & Noble)

Dark Tales: The Snow Queen Seven vignettes in a graphic novel format make up Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Snow Queen, which depicts the struggle between good and evil. More than 100 pages of illustrated action and adventure await! A demon creates a magic mirror that reflects negative thoughts. His minions break it, and shards of the mirror get into the hearts and eyes of citizens all over the land. Gerda’s friend Kay is affected, and is lured away by the Snow Queen to become her palace slave. Follow Gerda’s adventures in her quest to rescue her friend and restore his compassion!

Canterbury Classics has wisely brought other classic stories into their Dark Tales series. Take a closer look:

Dark Tales: Beauty and the BeastThis modern retelling of the classic fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast is told here in a graphic novel format. More than 100 pages of illustrated action, adventure, and love teach a lesson to look beyond the surface and learn to love what’s underneath. A merchant takes shelter in a castle during a thunderstorm, and ends up striking a bargain with its beastly master. His youngest daughter, Beauty, returns to the castle to live in exchange for a restoration of the family’s previous wealth. Beauty befriends Beast, but longs to see her family again. He allows her to visit her former home, but when she doesn’t return at the designated time, consequences ensue.

Dark Tales: The Call of Cthulhu  H. P. Lovecraft’s story of supernatural monsters deep in the Pacific, told in graphic novel format, will keep you on the edge of your seat. More than 100 pages of illustrated horror and adventure await! Henry Wilcox can’t ignore his dreams of an enormous green monster calling to him from an underwater alien city. He seeks the help of Professor Angell, who dies suddenly, leaving a box of research on the subject for his nephew, Francis. Francis seeks answers about his uncle’s death, and in the process uncovers evidence of a cult waiting for the Great Old Ones to return.

Dark Tales: The Hound of the Baskervilles  This classic “whodunit” story with the famous Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson is now told in graphic novel format. More than 100 pages of illustrated action and adventure! Sir Charles Baskerville, master of the Baskerville estate, is found dead at the gates with a look of horror on his face. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are called in to investigate the possibility of foul play. After several false leads, they solve the mystery and reveal the truth.

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Coming up next week is another MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY.
If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, 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.
Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and for spreading the middle grade love!
*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 Graphic Novels, Reviews | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments