Posts tagged ‘children in divorced families’


In partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Susan R. Stoltz


The Crabtree Monsters

Written by Chris Wieland

Ages 10+ | 384 Pages

Publisher: The Smart Aleck Press | ISBN-13: 9798985701302

Publisher’s Synopsis: Moving from Los Angeles to tiny Crabtree, Michigan, is the last thing thirteen-year-old Kat Dylan wants to do. Crabtree’s seen better days and isn’t what you call welcoming. Worse, the move means living with her gruff Grandpa Nick, the town’s police chief, and having to look after her little brother, Alec.

And that’s before Kat and Alec find themselves in the middle of a bank holdup by the Monster Gang—four robbers in monster masks. Before the heist is over, the kids lose their cash and Alec comes within a hair of losing his life. When it is all over, Grandpa Nick goes to jail, accused of being one of the robbers himself.

Suddenly, this boring little town isn’t so boring anymore. Kat’s determined to find out who the men are behind the masks, and she’s going to need help. But exposing the robbers could have big consequences. The deeper Kat goes, the more she learns life is about making choices, including some that are a matter of life and death.



Chris Wieland is an award-winning writer and filmmaker. He is also the father of two fierce children, including a tough, smart tween who helped him find the voice of his protagonist, Kat Dylan. He lives in Southern California with his family.

For more information, visit



The Crabtree Monsters

Written by Chris Wieland

Thirteen-year-old Kat and her ten-year-old brother, Alec have much to worry about. Their parents are divorced. Mom has been deployed to Afghanistan and they are moving from their father’s apartment in Los Angeles to a rural town in Michigan to live with their grandfather for nine months. They are distraught.

Kat is a wonderful character. She is bright, stubborn, determined and so relatable to the middle-grade audience. The book is full of coming-of-age issues, sibling rivalry, difficult family relationships, adjusting to a new school with new friends, and the problems of moving to a completely different neighborhood. To add to the appeal, their father and grandfather are both lawmen. Kat and her brother have inherited their penchant for solving mysteries.

Not long after the move, the siblings learn of the Monster Gang and become embroiled with the crimes plaguing their new home. That sets the stage for a fast-moving detective mystery that Kat and Alec decide to solve.

I love the humor, appealing characters, and plot of this novel. The middle-grade readers will not want to put it down.


Enter for a chance to win a signed copy of The Crabtree Monsters and a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

A signed copy of The Crabtree Monsters and a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card.

Four (4) winners receive:

A signed copy of The Crabtree Monsters.



Tuesday, June 14, 2022The Children’s Book ReviewA book review of The Crabtree Monsters
Wednesday, June 15, 2022Satisfaction for Insatiable ReadersAn article by Chris Wieland
Thursday, June 16, 2022The Fairview ReviewA book review of The Crabtree Monsters
Friday, June 17, 2022The Momma SpotA book review of The Crabtree Monsters
Monday, June 20, 2022Because I Said SoA book review of The Crabtree Monsters
Tuesday, June 21, 2022The Children’s Book ReviewA Growing Readers Podcast interview with Chris Wieland
Wednesday, June 22, 2022icefairy’s Treasure ChestA book review of The Crabtree Monsters
Thursday, June 23, 2022Lisa’s ReadingA book review of The Crabtree Monsters
Friday, June 24, 2022J.R.s Book ReviewsA book review of The Crabtree Monsters
Monday, June 27, 2022Tales of a Wanna-Be Superhero MomA book review of The Crabtree Monsters
Tuesday, June 28, 2022The Children’s Book ReviewAn Instagram Video Review
Wednesday, June 29, 2022Barbara Ann MojicaA book review of The Crabtree Monsters
Thursday, June 30, 2022Shooting Stars MagAn interview with Chris Wieland
Friday, July 1, 2022Writer with WanderlustA book review of The Crabtree Monsters



Written by Lori Ann Stephens

Illustrated by Trevor Yokochi

Pierre Francois is a fifth-grade student who lives in Texas. As you may have guessed from the name, Pierre’s father is French. To his chagrin, Pierre spends his Christmas holiday in France with his grandparents. He tells his readers that he hates fifth grade because the boys are annoying and the girls are mean.

Readers follow Pierre’s troubles in school, his attempt to impress his friends by winning the spelling bee, his first crush on Cynthia, the new girl in school, and his disastrous camping adventure with school buddies. The book has a few simple illustrations. It is a pretty easy read, and I would categorize it as an early chapter book or a good choice for reluctant readers. Especially recommended for readers in grades three through six. Lots of humor and plenty of situations that they will find familiar.

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