Saturday, July 10, 2010

Kid Konnection: Young Girls Books

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. Today, I'm going to share with you some fun middle grade books for girls that I have recently had the pleasure of reading!

Summary: Twelve-year-old Emma-Rose Paley has always felt different from her bubbly, outgoing parents. Unlike them, Emma-Rose has pale skin and jet-black hair, is quiet and moody, and prefers gray weather to sunshine. She also hates the taste of garlic, has very sharp incisors, and loves rare burgers. When Emma-Rose uncovers a dark family secret, she has a sudden revelation. Could Emma-Rose be a real, live vampire? -- Scholastic

When I was at BEA, I had the wonderful opportunity to tour Scholastic Books! As part of this very fun tour, we had the opportunity to meet author and Scholastic editor Aimee Freedman. I was lucky enough to score a signed middle grade book called POISON APPLE #2: THIS TOTALLY BITES! (which is written by Ms. Freedman but under the name Ruth Ames.)

I couldn't wait to share this book with Booking Daughter. She loves the Candy Apple books and I knew she'd get a kick out of this book, which is along the same lines as the Candy Apple ones, but with a slight twist-- Poison Apple instead of Candy Apple! In this age of all-things vampire, I love that there is a "vampire" book geared towards late elementary and early middle-grade girls -- which also happens to be age appropriate!

I realize that THIS TOTALLY BITES isn't aimed at me, but I was pleasantly surprised by how cute this book was. The basic premise is that Emma-Rose has always felt a little different from everyone else. When her eccentric aunt comes to visit, Emma-Rose begins discovering things about her aunt (and herself) which makes her wonder if she is actually a modern-day vampire.

THIS TOTALLY BITES is extremely cute and funny, and I know young girls are going to love this book (and probably the entire series.) Not only is the story entertaining, but there are also some lessons thrown in about family and friendship. In addition, while most tweens aren't worried that they are vampires, they still are trying to figure out who they really are -- insecurities and all. So I think in some way, young girls might relate to Emma-Rose!

Booking Daughter couldn't wait to get her hands on this book! Here are her thoughts:

I really liked THIS TOTALLY BITES. I saw the book when my mom got home from BEA and it was the first one that I read! THIS TOTALLY BITES is the second book in the series, but you don't have to read them in order. As soon as I was done with this one, I asked my mom to get me the first and third books.

I liked when Emma-Rose was trying to figure out if she was a vampire. My favorite part of the book was when her great aunt turned into a bat. I liked how the author described that part of the story.

I don't feel comfortable reading the Twilight books yet, and that's why I like the idea of the Poison Apple books. They deal with vampires without being too scary. I definitely recommend THIS TOTALLY BITES to anyone who likes to read about vampires but doesn't like frightening books.

I think that's a pretty good endorsement! Thanks to Scholastic for giving me a copy of this book.

Summary: Bridget Jones channels Miley Cyrus... If Bridget Jones were eleven years old and worried about training bras, boys, Mean Girl schoolmates and her new stardom as a cheerleader for Cross Creek Middle School, she'd be Elaine Rewitzer. -- Bell Bridge Books

WHAT I LEARNED FROM BEING A CHEERLEADER by Adrianne Ambrose is another book that tween girls are going to enjoy. The story is told in the words of sixth grader Elaine in the form of a her diary. It covers about a four month period and gives lots of details about Elaine's life -- both the ups and the downs.

Elaine is a pretty average sixth grader with pretty normal experiences. She lives with her mom and younger sister, has some loyal friends, and loves to dance. However, when she makes the cheerleader squad (to be more involved in school activities), she is thrown into any entirely new crowd! WHAT I LEARNED FROM BEING A CHEERLEADER chronicles some of Elaine's experiences as well as some of the difficult life lessons she learned in the process.

I really liked the format of this book -- the journal entries; and I thought the author did a good job of capturing the voice of a 11 year old girl. There was a lot of humor woven into this story and I did find my laughing quite a bit. I really liked Elaine and I think her behavior and feelings were pretty realistic for a girl this age. I also enjoyed seeing how she was torn between fitting in with her new friends while also hanging on to her old ones, and how she eventually resolved the issues.

I think both moms and girls are going to appreciate WHAT I LEARNED FROM BEING A CHEERLEADER. As a mother, I really liked many of the messages in this story. There were so many valuable lessons that I think tween girls can learn from and relate to including how to be a good friend and how to stay true to yourself. In fact, I could see some mother-daughter book clubs choosing this book to discuss because of the important life lessons.

Despite really enjoying this book, there was one little way that I thought this book could have been better. Elaine and her friends were really into comic books and liked to create their own stories. There were parts of this novel where the comic panels were described but not illustrated. I'm sure that when the author wrote this book, it was her intent for it to be more of a graphic novel; however, the publisher decided that it would be interesting for the readers to see how a comic book text is written out. I think the author hopes that young girls might try to draw some of the panels themselves; but for non-artist types like me and my daughter, I can definitely say that we would have appreciated seeing the illustrations. I'm just saying that I think cute drawings would have taken this book to the next level.

Thanks to the author for sending me an ARC of this book.

Summary: Ivy and Bean Doomed to Dance -- Finally! After begging their parents for ballet lessons, Ivy and Bean finally get what they want...well, not exactly. Much to their surprise, it turns out ballet lessons do not include karate chops and roundhouse kicks to the villain's heart. The girls have no interest in learning how to dance gracefully, but they promised their parents they would finish the entire ballet course! When it comes time for Ivy and Bean to participate in the ocean-themed class recital, the girls must figure out a way to get out of it without breaking their promises. -- Chronicle Books

I just think Ivy and Bean are a hoot! Even though Booking Daughter is too old for these books, I find that I still enjoy them (although I am a little sad that she's through with them.) The latest Ivy and Bean book that I had the pleasure to read is called IVY + BEAN - DOOMED TO DANCE by Annie Barrows and illustrated by Sophie Blackall.

DOOMED TO DANCE tells the story of Ivy and Bean and what happens when they decide to take dance lessons. It probably comes as no surprise that Ivy and Bean aren't exactly formal ballet dancing material, but they promised their parents that they would finish the entire session of classes. Their antics on the dance floor (as well as off) are guaranteed to bring a few laughs to the reader.

With the finale finally approaching, Ivy and Bean decide that they need to come up with a plan so they don't have to perform as Two Friendly Squids. It involves a school trip to the aquarium where Ivy and Bean find themselves in a heap of trouble as only Ivy and Bean can manage. Despite all of the problems they cause, Ivy and Bean somehow end up appreciating ballet class -- in their own twisted way!

Not only do I love Ivy and Bean and their crazy adventures, but I also love the illustrations in this book. The black and white sketches are just adorable and very silly! I think even the most reluctant readers will appreciate these relatively easy-to-read books and the companion drawings.

DOOMED TO DANCE is the sixth book in the series. I've only read one or two of the other ones, and I definitely think they are cute. I highly recommend the Ivy and Bean books for elementary school age girls.

Thanks to Anna, Diary of an Eccentric, for sending me a copy of this book!

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


bermudaonion said...

I've read Ivy + Bean: Doomed to Dance and thought it was just adorable. I have This Totally Bites and somehow forgot that it was written by Aimee Friedman. I'll have to get to it soon.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I remember Kathy's review of Ivy and Bean and have wanted to see one ever since! In your review of This Totally Bites, what a riot that Emma-Rose's great aunt turning into a bat was a clue as to whether she was a vampire. I think that would be convincing! :--)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the feature, It's such a great idea! I think my daughter might like What I learned from being a Cheerleader.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Ivy and Bean are huge in the kids' library. All of these books look adorable, but I fear my daughter may have outgrown them. Twilight has ruined her.

Gerbera Daisy Diaries said...

Daisy daughter loves Ive and Bean -- I'm sure she will be eager to get her hands on this one.

Adrianne said...

Hi Julie,

Thank you for reviewing my book, What I Learned From Being a Cheerleader. I appreciate it and I'm glad you enjoyed it.


Sherrie said...

I've not read any of these authors before, but I will be checking out their books. They sound really good. Have a great day!

Just Books

Nikki in Niagara said...

This is my first time participating. I just found out about you from bermudaonion's blog.

Stela James said...

Great blog and I'm now a follower

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