Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you two middle grade books from The Allegra Biscotti series that Booking Daughter and I both really enjoyed.
She doesn’t want her turn on the catwalk—she’d rather be behind the scenes creating fabulous outfits! So when a famous fashionista discovers Emma’s designs and offers her the opportunity of a lifetime—a feature in Madison magazine (squeal!)—Emma sort of, well, panics. She has only one option: to create a secret identity.
And so Allegra Biscotti is born.
Allegra is worldly, sophisticated, and bold—everything Emma is not. But the pressure is on. And Emma quickly discovers juggling school, a new crush, friends, and a secret identity might not be as glamorous as she thought. -- Sourcebooks Jabberwacky
So how did she score inside information on the most talked-about party of the year? Because Emma is secretly the hottest new fashion designer—Allegra Biscotti—and hired to whip up a Sweet Sixteen dress for the guest of honor. Wait…fashion emergency! How can she create a fiercely fashionable dress and keep her secret? There’s only one solution: Emma must go undercover—as her own intern!
But when Emma feels the pressure by her BFF to explain how she got an invite from the in-crowd and an ultra-fabulous fashion internship—just when Jackson finally starts paying attention to her—she knows she has to make it work…
…or will it all come apart at the seams? -- Sourcebooks Jabberwacky
THE ALLEGRA BISCOTTI COLLECTION and WHO WHAT WEAR by Olivia Bennett are positively adorable and exactly the types of books that I would have loved as a tween. (Heck, I still loved both of them and I'm a middle-aged mom!) The cover alone is just perfect for tweens -- it looks like a notebook with rounded edges and colorful doodles all over it. And the inside of the book is cute too. It's filled with even more sketches of clothes and fashion accessories.
THE ALLEGRA BISCOTTI COLLECTION tells the story of Emma, a very sweet young girl who loves to design clothes. When an editor of a leading fashion magazine falls in love with some of Emma's designs, Emma and her friend Charlie create a story that the clothes were designed by the Italian designer Allegra Biscotti. Before they realize it, they have created an entire secret identity for Allegra; and Emma learns that it's not easy to keep secrets from her family and friends.
WHO WHAT WEAR picks right up where the first book left off. Allegra's identity is still pretty much a secret but it's getting more and more difficult to keep things quiet. When Allegra is asked to design a Sweet Sixteen dress for one of the most popular girls in Emma's school, Emma faces quite a few challenges namely hiding Allegra's true identity, creating a dress that makes everyone happy, and working out things with her best friend.
I thought THE ALLEGRA BISCOTTI COLLECTION and WHO WHAT WEAR were so much fun to read and I sure hope that there will be more books in this series. I think tween girls are going to love Emma, and they even might find themselves relating to a bit to some of Emma's dilemmas. While most young girls aren't living a double-life like Emma, they are facing many of the same pre-teen issues that she does. For example, Emma feels like her mother doesn't understand her and that she is pressuring her at school. She also has some friend problems when her best friend starts hanging out with the popular crowd. In addition, Emma is discovering the whole new world of boys.
As a mother, I was surprised by how much I liked these books. The stories were very entertaining, but I actually liked the messages even more. Both books were very clean and while they did delve a bit into crushes, it was all very sweet. At first I was worried because Emma and Charlie seemed to be creating a lot of stories (and lies...); however,Emma did eventually tell her parents about Allegra Biscotti's identity. I liked that Emma got punished for lying, but I really loved that her parents listened to her and supported her love of fashion. In addition, there were so many important messages about friendship and staying true to one's self. I don't think tween girls can hear either of those things too many times.
Booking Daughter totally agrees that these books were terrific and read both of them within a few hours of receiving them. She even wants to read one for our mother-daughter book club's July pick because she is so excited to share Emma's story with her friends. At first, I was reluctant because I thought the books might be too "chick-litty" and not really discussable. However after reading just a few chapters, I agreed with Booking Daughter that we could find plenty to talk about. There is no doubt that both of these books are sure to be fun reads for tween girls, but they also touch upon some very relevant issues including mother/daughter communication, school issues, peer pressure, friendship problems, and even some innocent crushes on boys.
THE ALLEGRA BISCOTTI COLLECTION and WHO WHAT WEAR were both very popular in our house and I suspect that they will be big hits with many tween girls. I highly recommend this series!
Thanks to the publisher for sending a review copies of these 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!