Posts tagged ‘summer’

DOESN’T FIT THE MOLD

Natasha the Party Crasher “The School’s Out Summer Bash”

Written by Eileen Rose Giadone

Illustrated by Michael Murray

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Natasha La Rue is an ebullient and vivacious elementary school student who is looking forward to summer vacation in just three days. Every day her friends pick her up on the way to school; her personality always seems to make her stand out. Without warning, Natasha’s friends decide they are tired of her boisterous behavior and begin to ignore her. No matter what she does, they make her feel invisible. On the last day of school, Natasha sadly walks home alone, watching her friends celebrate. Natasha becomes more angry and hatches a plan to get even with her friends.

A celebration for the beginning of summer had been planned in the town square for that evening. Natasha buys some “get even” supplies and begins to implement her plot for revenge. What dire deed is Natasha planning and will she be successful? Will Natasha and her friends discover something new about themselves?

The illustrations in this book are a nice combination of digital art and hand drawings that use exquisite color and exaggerated facial expressions to communicate the author’s message. I would recommend this book to readers ages seven and up. The author is also a songwriter and that is evident in the way the words flow easily from line to line and page to page. Look forward to more adventures with Natasha La Rue.

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THERE IS A WAY OUT

No Exit: The Apple Grove Gang Vol.1

Written  by Hamilton C. Burger

NoExitpic

This is the first in a series of books about the Apple Grove Gang. The mystery adventure tale chronicles a group of friends who live in a small town forty or fifty years ago when children played outside and teamed together to solve common problems. The two main characters named Benny and Bug are about to begin summer vacation when they make a startling discovery. Not only is Exit 23 on the toll highway about to be closed, but this major loss of town revenue will force the closing of the community center where the local kids hang out. So the gang becomes determined to get to the bottom of this issue by sneaking into the mayor’s office to get the lowdown. But the mayor refuses to listen, and nothing seems to add up. Together with the help of a few adults, the gang use their detective skills to get the answers they need, finding many surprises along the way.

The characters are well developed and the story line moves along quickly in this book of approximately one hundred twenty five pages. The written dialogue is age appropriate with just the right amount of conversation and background description. Readers are given an authentic glimpse of small town life and local politics. However, in this story, the children come up with the solutions. Lessons of friendship and community loyalty are well developed.

This tale is a quick read for tweens and teens. Older adults will love the nostalgia and feel good vibes. Members of this gang are not into themselves and stand together as friends who need to make a wrong right. Nothing complicated here, just a story that will appeal to both girls and boys empowering them to believe they can also be problem solvers. A few more illustrations of  action scenes in the book might make the read more appealing to younger readers. This is a perfect lazy afternoon read and the quick pace encourages reluctant readers. At the end of the book, there is a bonus chapter introducing Gold Fever, the second adventure in the Apple Grove series.

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