Thursday, June 29, 2017


     I had the pleasure of kicking off my summer reading with a book that has a setting close to home - the beach! Although I'm from Maine and this story is set in Cape Cod, I could immediately smell the sand & surf and see the waves. Author Elizabeth Doyle Carey has a new summer series for us and it's a good one. The Cupcake Diaries'author writes a story that rings true as we get to know the four girls - Piper, Selena, Ziggy and storyteller, Jenna, all new to the teenage years.

     The four friends decide to spend the summer together as they try out for the Junior Lifeguard program, in this first of the series, Junior Lifeguards The Test. The usual trials and tribulations of teen angst were realistic and engaging. I realized as I neared the end of this first story, that I wanted  to know more about these girls and their lives. Carey leaves a bit of a cliffhanger in this first book, which I hope will be addressed in the next one. No spoiler alert here, you'll have to read the book to find out! 
     Middle grade readers will be wanting more as they read about these girls' problems, friendships and fears. The main characters are interesting and likable. Take this book to the beach, give it to your tween reader and let them enjoy a summer in Cape Cod vicariously through kids their own age.
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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Sputnick's Guide To Life On Earth by Frank Cattrell Boyce

     Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce is a delicious mash-up of fantasy and realistic fiction. It is a rambunctious, funny and, at times, poignant story of a silent boy named Prez, an alien named Sputnik, a foster family and a forgetful grandfather.
         Prez doesn't talk . . . at least not to anyone at the summer foster home he is staying at on a farm in the country. But when Sputnik appears, things get a bit wonky! Who is he? Where did he come from and why in the world can he read Prez's mind?!
     Trip along on a fascinating ride as Sputnik tries to save planet Earth, marked for destruction, by creating a guide highlighting the top ten great things about Earth. He enlists the help of Prez but he and Sputnik don’t always agree on what is great on Earth and what isn't. Witness Sputnik's excitement and delight over the discovery of a remote control but how totally unimpressed he is with the Taj Mahal. 
     This book will resonate with children and adults alike and would be an ideal read aloud for classroom teachers. Students will relate to Prez's inner thoughts as he worries about his grandfather, tries to fit into a family for the duration of a summer only and be responsible for an unexpected alien that a family falls in love with, seeing him as a friendly and lovable dog. 
     Boyce Cantrell has hit a home run with Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth. Put this one on the top of your TBR lists for the summer - you won't be disappointed then give it to one of your favorite readers.
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