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Search tags: sunshine-state-15-16
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review 2018-01-06 04:07
How to (Almost) Ruin Your Summer
How to (Almost) Ruin Your Summer - Taryn Souders

 

 

Someone once told me that money can't buy happiness. They obviously never had to ride a baby bike to the first day of middle school.

-opening lines

 

Chloe is determined to earn money this summer (maybe by babysitting). What she didn't plan for is her parents deciding to send her to career camp. There she will have the opportunity to see what it's like to be a cake decorator, athlete, scientist, or veterinarian. Well, Chloe knows for sure she doesn't get along with animals, by maybe she could work with the cake decorating thing. But, life has other plans... Between spiders, a goat named King Arthur, a rude girl named Victoria, and Director Mudwimple, Chloe's summer is looking ruined. But luckily Chloe meets a friend, a bouncy girl named Paulie (who Chloe nicknames Pogo), and finds out two of her friends from home are also there, Nathan (her secret crush) and Sebastian.

 

The story is told through Chloe's experiences and nightly journal entries. Chloe is relatable and the drama seems pretty accurate for a bunch of middle school aged girls living in a cabin together. Chloe's friendship with Pogo and the difficulties with the bully Victoria seem to be accurate portrayals of middle school relationships. Chloe doesn't always make the right choice, but in the end, she does the right thing. I read this quickly in one sitting and I think 4th through 8th graders will enjoy it.

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review 2018-01-06 03:42
Mark of the Dragonfly
The Mark of the Dragonfly - Jaleigh Johnson

Piper, a young girl with a talent for fixing mechanical things, finds Anna (a young girl with amnesia who needs her help) and together they take the 401 train trying to escape the man pursuing them. There they meet Gee, a boy who can transform into a dragon and who might be able to help them.

 

Piper is smart, brave and mechanically inclined, who could ask for a better heroine. She is alone and barely scraping by until she finds Anna in the meteor field (each meteor shower brings items from other worlds that the scrappers find and fix or sell). Anna doesn't know who she is but she has the mark of the dragonfly which means she is someone important to the king. Piper sees her chance to help Anna and maybe get a reward that could change her life at the same time.

 

This story is filled with magic, adventure, steampunk, humor, and a smidge of romance. I highly recommend it to readers in grades 4 through 8 (and adults who enjoy strong female characters and a bit of western/sci-fi; sort of like Firefly for the younger set). A promising series which I plan to continue.

 

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review 2017-10-11 03:18
Vanishing Coin
The Vanishing Coin [The Magic Shop Book 1] - Magician Mike Lane,Kate Egan,Eric Wight

 

I finished reading this to the students today. When I asked if they liked the book, 15 out of the 18 said yes. Their favorite part overall was the magic tricks. They liked when Mike performed the tricks, but they also liked that the book contained instructions for them to learn the tricks too. Next week we are having a magic show, discussing the book, making flyers to help promote the book, and picking our next read.

 

This book is part of a series of books revolving around Mike. He is a smart kid but has difficulty focusing and thinks he isn't good at anything. Then he discovers the White Rabbit and its proprietor, Mr. Zerlin. Mike finds out that he is good at something after all, magic.

 

This book is sure to be a winner with young readers. Many kids love magic and learning magic tricks. Also, many kids will see shades of themselves in this book. Kids often get distracted or have difficulty focusing, and this book allows them to see that it happens to other kids too. It doesn't make them stupid, they just need to find their own kind of magic.

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review 2017-10-07 06:31
Shadows of Sherwood
Shadows of Sherwood (Robyn Hoodlum) - Kekla Magoon

 

The sing on the fence said BEWARE OF DOGS.

- first sentence

 

Robyn was the sort of girl who knew not only how many teeth a bulldog had, but also exactly what to do to get a bulldog on her good side.

Chapter 2

 

Robyn had always been the sort of girl who enjoyed breaking the rules. She was almost never where she was supposed to be.

- Chapter 4

 

When Robyn's parents are taken, she is thrust into a world she didn't even know existed. People are suffering and the government is corrupt. Robyn tries to find ways to help people and to thwart the government when she can. She is a strong girl and yet terrified of what happened to her parents. She finds friends, learns how to trust people, and tries to make a difference.

 

This a reimagining of the legend of Robin Hood. Robyn lives in Nott City in her home, Loxley Manor. The counties that surround her home are Sherwood, Nottingham, Excelsior, and Block Six. Robyn and her friends form a band that steals medicine and food from the government and distributes it to the poor.

 

The story is fun, imaginative, and full of adventure. Even though Robyn is strong-willed and independent, she also has doubts about herself and the wisdom of what she is doing.  This a great book for middle readers. I am definitely going to read the sequels. :)

 

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text 2017-10-07 05:55
Reading progress update: I've read 100 out of 142 pages.
The Vanishing Coin [The Magic Shop Book 1] - Magician Mike Lane,Kate Egan,Eric Wight

 

So, I started an after-school "book club" at the library where I volunteer. Our school has a requirement that 4th and 5th-grade students read three Sunshine State nominated books before March. Some students are reluctant readers and some have difficulties with reading. To assist these students, our club meets once a week and I read the book out loud to the students. The first book we chose was Vanishing Coin. 

 

There are 18 students participating. We met twice so far and should be able to finish this book next week. It's a fun book and the students enjoy trying out the magic tricks. :)

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