Posts tagged ‘first love’

MOVING RIGHT ALONG….

Miss Perfect and Tiny Tail

Written by Rachel Schlessinger

Illustrated by Sigalet Carmely

 

This book is a fairly well-written chapter book that features a ten-year-old named Lily who faces numerous challenges one summer. Lily is the middle child. Her older sister, Miss Perfect, and a younger sister, Tiny Tail are both dearly loved and constant annoyances. A large part of the book focuses on sibling and peer relationships as well as Lily’s conflicts with her mother.

Lily’s mother informs the three sisters that they will be moving from their small village to the big city because their father has found work there. This is the second conflict that Lily, as well as her sisters, must face and resolve. Lily has developed a crush on Tommy. At first, he seems to ignore and make fun of her.

The summer setting provides the backdrop for these three challenges. As time advances, each member of the family must face the issues revealed in the first person narrative told by Lily. Many middle-grade readers will see themselves mirrored in the characters and their conflicts. Because this book consists of short chapters consisting of less than seventy pages, reluctant readers will not be deterred. A few illustrations enhance its appeal. Recommended for middle-grade readers, teachers and parents who wish to explore the challenges faced by the middle child, parent and sibling relationships, and families who are planning a move.

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FROM RAGS TO RICHES

The Improbable Rise of Paco Jones

Written by Dominic Carrillo

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A very well-written novel that traces the experiences of a Mexican-American eighth grader struggling to fit into an exclusive private school and falling in love for the first time. Paco Jones is taunted by his classmates as Taco Jones; he is unattractive, nonathletic, uncool and poor. Paco’s biracial parents are determined to see that their son has a chance of success and struggle to give him a good education. Paco wants to gain the acceptance of his peers and please his parents. To complicate his situation further, Paco falls desperately in love with a black girl named Naomi, who is dating Trent, one of the popular jocks at school. When Naomi becomes impressed with Paco’s intelligence and honesty; she takes him into her confidence and reveals her true feelings about Trent. Strangely enough, Trent also enlists Paco’s help in his effort to woo Naomi. Paco becomes trapped between his two friends, and almost gets expelled in the process. Despite the trouble in which Paco finds himself, he remains true to his principles revealing his real character.

This tale deals with many issues that young adult readers face. Paco faces racial discrimination, economic insecurity, first love issues and parental child responsibilities. He winds his way through a myriad of difficulties, only to find out that there is not always a simple solution or a rosy ending. Characters are well- developed multicultural, and multidimensional; readers empathize with Paco, find a strong female role model in Naomi, and discover the strengths and flaws in others like Trent and Mr. Holiday. As a bonus, the author/teacher provides discussion questions that align with the US common core standards. This book also provides a flashback for adult readers who may have forgotten those turbulent junior high days. Recommended for readers age twelve and older.

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PENGUIN AND FINN

Diary Of A Penguin Napper: How much trouble can one little penguin cause?

Written by Sally Harris

Diaryofpenguinnapper,pic

Well, we are not exactly talking crime of the century, but for two eleven year olds named Marty Finn and Scot Trudman, the penguin caper was a big deal. This book is a middle grade fiction story that combines all those elements of crucial importance to children of that age. Marty has the usual problems adjusting to school, learning to cope and fit in with peers and adults, and finding a way to understand and deal with his first crush. His good friend, Scott owes him due to the fact that Marty has rescued Scot from embarrassment more then once, including the time Scott lost his trunks while diving into the swimming pool.

The story begins at the end. Marty is sitting in his living room reading his diary explaining the details of the kidnapping to two police offices he calls Fat and Skinny. That crime of snatching a penguin from the Australian zoo has been thwarted because his mother has discovered the penguin in the attic bathroom. Why would he possibly want to steal a penguin? He needed the money to go on an overnight school trip to the nature center so that he could work with his assigned partner, Jessica, who just happens to be the girl he has a crush on. Marty’s mother had informed him that she did not have the money for the trip; after several attempts to raise money by doing chores and securing a loan at the local bank, the boys realize they have run out of options. But an unexpected opportunity springs up when the wealthiest student in the school offers them $500 to bring a wild animal to his little sister’s birthday party. So Marty and Scott hatch their plot and succeed in bagging the penguin. The end results and punishments have both predictable and unforeseen consequences.

This story is written mainly for middle grade students. Fans of Diary of A Wimpy Kid will appreciate the clever entries in Marty’s diaries, the names used for characters, and the offbeat humor. The plot, humor and dialogue are age appropriate and genuine. In addition, the cover is an eye catching design which intrigues the reader. If you are looking for an amusing pleasant read, spend a couple of hours with this one.

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