Saturday, July 18, 2015

Kid Konnection: Bride of Slug Man

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 a cute middle grade book about an aspiring film maker.

Summary: After her huge success with her first feature-length movie, seventh-grader Kate Walden is eager to start on her next film, a sci-fi romance called Bride of Slug Man. When a new kid comes to town from New York City, Kate thinks she might have a new found film buddy-someone to share her interest with. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s pretty cute. But it turns out that Tristan is making his own movie, and now the classmates Kate thought were eager to join her cast and crew are divided. With rumors spreading in school and between sets, Kate finds herself juggling more than just call times and rewrites. And judging from the whispers Kate hears about Tristan Kingsley, she suspects that he isn’t interested in having a fellow film-buff friend; he just wants to prove himself as the best filmmaker in school by winning the Big Picture Film Festival. Kate vows to enter too, and tries to focus on just making the best movie she can. But between the cutthroat popularity contest, a bully situation that goes from bad to worse, and several on-set mishaps, Kate is going to need all the movie magic she can get to make sure Bride of Slug Man hits the big screen. -- Disney Hyperion

I was in the mood for a light, quick read (which means for me a middle grade book), so I decided to pick up KATE WALDEN DIRECTS: BRIDE OF SLUG MAN by Julie Mata. I admit the cover of the book, with the cute little slugs, was interesting; however, it was the premise of this novel that really attracted me to it. It's part romance, science fiction, and lots of middle school drama. If it sounds fun, that's because it is!

BRIDE OF SLUG MAN tells the story of seventh grader Kate Walden. Kate is ready to start her second film; and after much thought, she decides to do a sci-fi romance called Bride of Slug Man. After the success of her last film Night of the Zombie Chickens, all of the kids at her middle school want to be part of her movie. However, things get messy when a new boy from New York City moves to her school.

Kate is thrilled that Tristan Kingsley is interested in movies... just like her. Maybe they can be fast friends? It doesn't hurt that Tristan is pretty easy on the eyes. But Kate soon discovers that Tristan wants to enter a film competition, and her friends and fellow students want to be part of his movie. When both Kate and Tristan decide to enter the Big Picture Film Festival, they discover that they are competing in a lot more than just a film.

Things go wrong for Kate from the get-go. She begins to question not only her friends' loyalties, but also her film-making abilities. In the process, Kate has to battle rumors, bullying, and issues on her film sets. Can she get Bride of the Slug Man made while also balancing the drama of middle school?

BRIDE OF SLUG MAN is the second book in the Kate Walden Directs series, and unfortunately, I missed the first one. I don't think it's necessary to fully appreciated this book because the author does a great job of explaining the past; however, it sounds like it was a cute story too. I quickly fell in love with Kate, and I thought this book was both entertaining and hilarious!

Kate is a fantastic character and many middle grade girls will relate to her. She is passionate about making movies, but she's also juggling the demands of middle schoolers everywhere. She has problems and school and problems with friends (and enemies); and she also is starting to learn a thing or two about boys and crushes. Her daily life dramas are all very typical of kids in middle school, and I suspect many girls will see themselves in Kate and her friends.

As a mom, I really liked the overall messages in this book about friendship and loyalty. There is a side story about bullying, and I loved that there were kids in this story who weren't afraid to stand up to them for their friend. Well, maybe I shouldn't say that they weren't afraid, but they were willing to do the right thing... and that's a great message. I also really appreciated that Kate's character matured so much by the end of the story. She learned how to navigate some difficult social situations, and she also was open-minded enough to learn from them. That's a huge thing to learn as a teen!

Aspiring film makers like Kate will adore this book, but there is enough information about making movies, without being tedious, that all kids will learn a thing or two about the film industry.  I actually found myself liking all of the old film references and directing jargon too!

Check out this video which will give you a better idea of this fun book:

I was pleasantly surprised to find that there is a curriculum guide available for BRIDE OF THE SLUG MAN. I love this because this book would be absolutely perfect for the classroom! This novel is a lot of fun so it will appeal to many reluctant readers, while also having some great messages. The curriculum guide has discussion questions, activities, and more while also referencing the common core standards.

I really enjoyed BRIDE OF SLUG MAN and think middle graders will adore it too! My only regret is that I missed Ms. Mata's first Kate Walden Directs novel NIGHT OF THE ZOMBIE CHICKENS!

Thanks to Blue Slip Media for providing a review 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!

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

I didn't realize this is the second in a series. I need to get to it soon!