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Monday, November 20, 2017

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: LUCY AND ANDY NEANDERTHAL:THE STONE COLD AGE by Jeffrey Brown

LUCY AND ANDY NEANDERTHAL:THE STONE COLD AGE by Jeffrey Brown (Crown Books for Young Readers, 2017)

What It's About (from Goodreads):
Neanderthal siblings Lucy and Andy are back to their paleo pranks. This time, they have to put up with more than just each other the cave is feeling awfully cramped since the humans moved in. They re in the Ice Age, and legroom comes at a real premium!

Jeffrey Brown skillfully blends humor and history with paleontologist sections: Timeline of Key Discoveries, Ice Age Fact vs. Fiction, Silly Cavemen Myths, and more.

My Thoughts:
One of the things I have started doing this year is being a Reading Friend at the local elementary school, where my son is in 5th grade. I have two 4th grade reading buddies. My job is to be just that-- a friend to kids who, for whatever reason, struggle with reading. One of my buddies likes The Magic Tree House series, and the other one is a big fan of graphic novels. (We read and guffawed at Dav Pilkey's Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties.)

The mafioso, father of three boys, has read his share of Magic Tree House, as well as Captain Underpants and Wimpy Kid--but my kids have now outgrown the newer graphic novels series, such as Lucy and Andy Neanderthal and Jedi Academy (also by Jeffrey Brown). But my graphic novel-loving reading friend is also into dinosaurs, so maybe he can be persuaded to take on Lucy and Andy Neanderthal after we're done with Dog Man. I'll keep you posted.

The Stone Cold Age is the second book in the Lucy and Andy Neanderthal series, and it was a ton of fun. Andy, despite being a neanderthal, often acts like a modern kid with attitude. The humans and the neanderthals get on like a couple of sitcom families, and the book is a real page turner. My favorite part, because I'm a swot, was all the facts about neanderthals and ice ages and fossils sprinkled through the pages. It was a fun way to learn about life 40,000 years ago!

About the Author:
Jeffrey Brown lives in Chicago with his wife and two sons. He teaches at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. WEBSITE


Monday, November 13, 2017

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: EDDIE RED UNDERCOVER: MYSTERY ON MUSEUM MILE by Marcia Wells

EDDIE RED UNDERCOVER: MYSTERY ON MUSEUM MILE by Marcia Wells (HMH Books for Young Readers, April 1, 2014)

What It's About:
Sixth-grader Edmund Xavier Lonnrot, code-name “Eddie Red,” has a photographic memory and a prodigious talent for drawing anything he sees. When the NYPD is stumped by a mastermind art thief, Eddie becomes their secret weapon to solve the case, drawing Eddie deeper into New York’s famous Museum Mile and closer to a dangerous criminal group known as the Picasso Gang. Can Eddie help catch the thieves in time, or will his first big case be his last?

First Lines:
"State your name."
"Eddie Red."
The officer looks up at me and frowns. "State your real name. For the police report." He jabs a meaty finger at the paperwork in front of him.
"Edmund Lonnrot," I reply, making sure to keep my voice steady despite my wobbly insides. Worst Night Ever.

Things I Liked:

  1. Eddie's voice. You can tell that Marcia Wells has spent a lot of time among the target age group. The way Eddie talks is pitch perfect. (And everything is ├╝ber this or that or something or other!)
  2. Best Friend. Eddie's best friend is Jonah Schwartz, and the two of them are a hoot. Jonah has ADHD, but is brilliant once his meds kick in. It's Jonah that uses chess moves to crack the Picasso Gangs' plan!
  3. Humor. There's a lot of funny stuff, from the incident that gave Mr. Pee his name, to the idea that Eddie will dress as a girl scout selling cookies to gain entrance to the apartments of potential art collectors (thank you, Jonah Schwartz, for that brilliant idea.)
  4. Eddie's Family. You know how I like it in middle grade novels when moms and dads are alive and involved in their kids' lives. Put a check next to Eddie's parents for that.
  5. Diversity. Eddie's black. #WeNeedDiverseBooks
Eddie Red Undercover: mystery on Museum Mile is on the Oregon Battle of the Books list for 3-5th grade. (I think that vocabulary-wise it works best for the upper part of this age range. My son and I had a great time reading it aloud together. My son particularly enjoyed doing Detective Bovano's accent.)

There are two other books in the Eddie Red series. Check them out here.


About the Author:
Marcia Wells has a Master’s degree in Spanish literature and has taught writing, Spanish and math to middle and high school students for the past fifteen years.


When she’s not visiting relatives in New York City and planning new adventures for Eddie Red, she’s at home with her kids, husband, and other farm animals in Vermont.

P.S. If you want to know even more about Marcia Wells, there's a neat interview with her on Marieke's blog, Presents of Love. Ciao!


Monday, November 6, 2017

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore

THE STARS BENEATH OUR FEET by David Barclay Moore (Knopf Books for Young Readers, September 2017)

Happy Monday, everyone! I'm sorry to do an Alice Through the Looking Glass kind of thing, but I'm over at my group blog, PROJECT MAYHEM, today featuring this splendid book.

So, if you don't mind some jumping about in the blogosphere this morning, please join me over at PROJECT MAYHEM today.

I'll be back with the mafiosi in a week or two!

Ciao and cheers!