Archive for Middle Grade Books
Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is hosted by Shannon Messenger, author of KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES (Oct 2012). The weekly meme is to showcase middle grade books you love and/or feature an upcoming MG release, author interview or MG review. To learn more about MMGM click here!
Review: I’d like to first thank Bloomsbury for sending me the book to review via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
There are so many different middle grade books on the market today that it’s difficult to choose just one to read. But if you have a chance this year to read a middle grade debut, then check out THE MAPMAKER AND THE GHOST by Sarvanez Tash.
It’s a story with heart and has positive messages devoted to family, friendship, loyalty and bravery, Oh, and not to mention characters who not only shine as positive role models, but ones who learn right from wrong — often the hard way. Don’t get me wrong, this is a story where theme is not thrown in your face, but rather is subtly weaved into the hilarious and creative plot.
At the center of the story is Goldenrod Moram who wishes her name didn’t sound like a princess in a fairytale. But she’s stuck with it. She has a younger brother who likes tagging along with her and looks up to his big sis. The story starts out at the end of the school year for both Goldenrod and her brother who are now off for summer fun. Sadly, Goldenrod doesn’t know what to do with herself. Her best friend has since moved away. They were partners in adventure just like Lewis & Clark. Meriwether Lewis is Goldenrod’s favorite explorer and she tries to emulate his spirit of adventure by making maps and exploring her backyard. But Goldenrod wants to step outside her home’s property and explore her neighborhood.
Yet, her parents have been reluctant for Goldenrod to go exploring around town, even if it’s a small one. Good parents! But Goldenrod convinces them she won’t go far, she’ll stay safe, and she will take precaution and have everything she needs for her daily adventures, including a cell phone. After all, she wants to make a map of her town for her BFF. Goldenrod ends up with more than just a map and discovers herself by helping other people in their time of need, and what it means to make new friends.
THE MAPMAKER AND THE GHOST does involve the topic of kidnapping which is committed by a motley crew of young kids who have rather nefarious plans. Oh yeah…you’re probably wondering about the ghost. Well, the ghost involves Lewis & Clark and was a delightful surprise.
Goldenrod is admirable and smart at gathering clues, as well as plotting strategies throughout the novel. I was enchanted by this book and didn’t want it to end. As far as I know, THE MAPMAKER AND THE GHOST is a standalone book, but it would make a terrific series for middle graders! I would be thrilled to see Goldenrod go on many exciting adventures around her charming town.
I’m giving THE MAPMAKER AND THE GHOST 5 “Middle Grade Book Fans” for being…golden!
TOP TEN REASONS TO READ THE WIZARD OF DARK STREET:
10. Because it has an enchanted raven/encyclopedia in it, and his name is Deacon.
9. Because it takes place between two opposing worlds: the Land of Faerie and old Victorian New York City.
8. Because it utilizes the phrase “utter vexation” on the first page.
7. Because it has candlestick trees in it.
6. Because all of your friends and family will be reading it, and you won’t want to be left out!
5. Because it is a classic detective/whodunit set in a magical world, and who wouldn’t like that?
4. Because it contains curiously concocted riddles, countless clues, and a cornucopia of highly suspicious characters.
3. Speaking of characters: Because it has a bumbling police inspector, a tattoo faced boy, a venomous girl, a witch, a wizard, a bizarre faerie servant, and certain dark creatures that I dare not name here.
2. Because it has a precocious and highly driven heroine who is searching for something more than the life she has been handed, who must learn to trust herself, despite her past mistakes and terrible a sense of loss.
1. Because you’ll never be the same once you’ve finished, and you’ll have knowledge that only a select few ever even knew existed. Oh yes, and it’s lots of fun.
Please visit: http://www.thewizardofdarkstreet.com
Remember to stop back for my review of THE WIZARD OF DARK STREET within the next few weeks!
THEODOSIA AND THE LAST PHARAOH
By: R.L. LaFevers
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Children’s Books
Pub. Date: April 2011
Formats: Hardcover, Electronic, Audio
Age Group: Middle Grade +
“What is a use of a book, without pictures or conversations?” Theodosia Throckmorton is one of my favorite middle grade characters. I love the series. It’s always filled with adventure, intrigue, suspense, magic and historical fun! And Theo’s adventures keep getting better with each book. If you haven’t read this series yet, then do get started! You will definitely be entertained.
In her fourth book, not only does Theo go to Egypt, but so does her mother. I was glad to see more of a supporting role for Theo’s mom, Henrietta, in this novel. Usually she plays some part along with her husband, Alastair, but generally they are in the background. Nevertheless, Theo is always the main star. However, I learned more about Theo’s relationship with her mom in this book. There’s also some great surprises and twists in the story!
“We’re all mad here.” Some of my favorite reasons for loving the Theo books are the characters. R.L. LaFevers doesn’t disappoint with THEODOSIA AND THE LAST PHARAOH. She not only comes up with the most unusual names, but also some of the most unique people — like Major Harriman Grindle. He’s gruff, but kind. Grindle also knows a lot about Theos’ past! All the characters are quirky, strange, and mysterious. Some are down-right dastardly!
I enjoy reading books set in Egypt and learning about Ancient Egypt. So I was very excited to read this novel and was pleased by the whole book. The setting is real, but also imagined. I felt like I was there. I actually didn’t want to leave. Of course, we see and find out more about the deadly Serpents of Chaos an underground organization who are after Theo and want to wreak havoc on the world. We also meet a new secret organization that is on Theo’s tail, as well. One of my favorite characters is Gadji, a young boy who lives on the streets on Egypt. Gadji helps Theo with her journey and mission in the story. And it’s quite the mission!
“I’m late, I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date!” Watch for R.L. LaFevers’s upcoming YA book, DARK MERCY (working title), about female assassins in 15th century France. I’m definitely looking forward to more for R.L. LaFevers!
“Sentence first – verdict afterwards.” I’m giving Theodosia and the Last Pharaoh 4 “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Characters” for being charmingly fun!