“It’s the Science Fair, and the second grade is all over it! Some kids are making man-eating robots. Some kids are holding their breath for a very, very long time. Some kids are doing interesting things with vacuum cleaners. The theme, obviously, is global warming. But what should Ivy and Bean do? Something involving explosions? Or ropes? Something with ice cubes? Or maybe . . . maybe something different.”
Let me start off by saying I am a big fan of the Ivy and Bean series. There is a truthfulness to the writing that I think really captures kids and the way they think. This is a series written for kids to relate to…not books written because parents want kids to relate to it. It’s quirky and full of random little bits of humor along with the essential ingredient: a good story. If you have children or work with them you know they can be fascinated and delighted by extremely small and often random things. (Example: The importance of who will sit on the state of Colorado on a rug shaped like the United States.) I really enjoy it when you can find an author who gets that and can work that childhood mentality into their books in a way that’s not fake or trying too hard. Book 7 Ivy and Bean: What’s the Big Idea is no different than the first six volumes in the series. It’s clever, funny and extremely kid friendly….meaning kids “get it” and will enjoy reading it. Annie Barrows writing paired with Sophie Blackall’s expressive illustrations will have not just the kids but parents giggling as well. It’s a great choice for read-a-loud too since the humor really comes out on multiple occasions. So join Ivy and Bean as they tackle a new problem: global warming. That’s right Ivy and Bean are going green!
Want a sneak peek at Ivy and Bean: What’s the Big Idea ? How about a copy for that special little scientist in your life? The always generous Chronicle Books will give one lucky reader of Stiletto Storytime their own copy. Simply comment below with your email address. US and Canada addresses only please. Giveaway ends midnight December 9th, 2010.
The summer before there were four girls: Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia and Stacey, each individuals with their own interests, families and even at times their own problems. Kristy is busy struggling to deal with the loss of her father and addition of her mother’s boyfriend and children to her family. The always-shy Mary Anne is trying desperately to show her own overly protective father that she’s growing up and not a baby anymore. And the new girl Stacey is moving away from the only home she has ever known in New York City to Stoneybrook, Connecticut after a diagnosis of diabetes, which has up until this point in her view ruined her life and friendships. While Claudia has moved ahead of them all in her modern interests in fashion, art and even boys, as she navigates her first crush who just happens to be the boy her sister also has a crush on. What are the girls to do as summer takes them on such a wild ride?
This was the summer before seventh grade and most importantly it’s the summer before the creation of “The Baby-Sitter’s Club”. The club that made them not just more grown up but what made them grow together. Before they were four separate girls but after it made them inseparable, it made them best friends. It was also a club that through books created a place for a generation of girls to grow together, to feel like they too belonged and learn to love reading. Now the beloved series is back for the next generation.
In the prequel to what has become one of the most loved and most successful series of all time, Ann M. Martin has once again given girls a voice they can relate to as they travel the journey to their teen years. Awakening this best selling series by telling what truly brought the girls together before they became the famous “The Baby-Sitter’s Club” is a the ideal beginning to updating the series for a new generation. Wonderfully told and as always perfectly written for its intended audience, Ann M. Martin has once again worked her magic. Characters of truth, the pangs of youth and the miracle of learning about who you are as a person are all attributes that have made this series legendary. The Summer Before is the perfect beginning for the journey to start again.
I cannot tell you how excited I am to see this series re-vamped for the next generation. I grew up in the eighties when The Baby-Sitter’s Club was at it’s best and am so excited that the girls of today will be able to be exposed to this and in an updated way. I always tried to cling to our old paperback copies at the library…I couldn’t help it, they were such a part of my childhood! The Summer Before is a great start to all this. We also have two other books in the series that came out April 1st: Kristy’s Great Idea and Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls. June will bring The Truth About Stacey as well. As you can expect the re-emergence of this series has a lot of people talking. Below are some articles that I found interesting:
As a Children’s Librarian by trade, I still find myself searching out the best fiction to recommend to kids even though currently I am a stay at home mom. I especially like to find good books for pre-teen girls. Books that send good messages to them about themselves, their bodies and the world around them. With girls today wanting to grow up so fast sometimes this can be a hard spot to fill. Girls are often drawn to the young adult books at this age although they are often not ready for them or need to be exposed to their content. That’s why I get so excited when I read a great book for this age and gender. Phyllis Reynolds Naylor is a superb author and has another hit on her hands with Faith, Hope and Ivy June. While tackling tough issues such as poverty, family relationships and grief, Naylor still seems to weave a magic web that brings forth a wonderful cast of unforgettable characters especially Kentucky mountain born Ivy June Mosley. Despite the differences in her two main characters, Naylor reminds us all that in life many things are the same no matter your situation. Grief still hurts and love still prevails.
As a child who grew up in rural Kentucky myself, I felt right at home with many of Ivy June’s customs and feelings. We connected immediately but I also found myself connecting with Lexington bred Catherine who is her exact opposite in many ways. This novel really explores so many important and relevant issues for today’s young girls, it’s really hard to focus on just one. I highly recommend it for young girls in the 9-12 range. I think it will be a winner and would be a great book club selection for a Girls Book Club or Mother Daughter Book Clubs. It would also make a great book for discussion in the classroom. The theme of diversity is prevalent in a way that is not often expressed. I do so hope that you will give it a chance and make sure they special girl in your life gets a copy as well. Below is a synopsis:
“When push comes to shove, two Kentucky girls find strength in each other.
Ivy June Mosely and Catherine Combs, two girls from different parts of Kentucky, are participating in the first seventh-grade student exchange program between their schools. The girls will stay at each other’s homes, attend school together, and record their experience in their journals. Catherine and her family have a beautiful home with plenty of space. Since Ivy June’s house is crowded, she lives with her grandparents. Her Pappaw works in the coal mines supporting four generations of kinfolk. Ivy June can’t wait until he leaves that mine forever and retires. As the girls get closer, they discover they’re more alike than different, especially when they face the terror of not knowing what’s happening to those they love most.”
I have to admit I have never read a Sarah Dessen novel before. I always meant to but just never got around to it. I try to read as much YA as possible since my previous job as a Children’s Librarian also led me to giving reader’s advisory to teens as well, something I savored. My sister is a teenager and a very reluctant reader but I have noticed that if left around, she will pick up certain books. Sarah Dessen is an author I know she will read if I provide the book. So my first Sarah Dessen has turned out to be her newest Along for the Ride. And I have to say I really enjoyed it and see the appeal it holds for my sister and a lot of teen girls. Dessen’s characters are teens but she doesn’t talk down to her readers and she is very true to negating the typical stereotypes. She also isn’t afraid of addressing tough issues such as death, divorce, blended families or even postpartum depression. I appreciated her honesty and ability to simply tell a good story that would keep readers interested especially those reluctant teens. Also kudos for showing that a girl can be girly and still smart. That is a stereotype that I myself fought for a long time and still do from time to time in womanhood. So give Sarah Dessen a try whether it’s for you or that reluctant teen girl reader in your life! And if you have read any other Dessen novels you want to comment about…I would love to have my next title recommendation….in the meantime here is a description of her latest:
Along for the Ride
“It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.In her signature pitch-perfect style, Sarah Dessen explores the hearts of two lonely people learning to connect.”
I have been trying to catch up on some of the new juvenile fiction for 2008. I have just finished Deep Down Popular by Phoebe Stone and Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls: Moving Day by Meg Cabot. I have to say I liked them both. Both had wonderfully precocious female protagonists who you could not help but love. What can I say I am a sucker for a girly book and the covers of both seemed to pull me in as they sat on the shelf.
Deep Down Popular is about a tomboyish young girl named Jesse Lou Ferguson. She is nursing a crush on the most popular boy in sixth grade Conrad Parker. He is a boy that walks, talks and sleeps in the world of popularity until one day he comes to school with a leg brace. Suddenly things change and Jesse Lou finds herself more and more thrown together with Conrad as they try to figure out some mysterious happenings in their small town in rural Virginia.
The book is cute and very nicely written in a very poetic style. The young Jesse Lou is a fledgling poet herself. The relationship between Jesse Lou and Conrad remains mainly a school grade crush so the work would be good for lots of ages if they can handle the length and longer poetical musings. I have to say that the cover is misleading though. The cover to me seemed very girlie..with the argyle socks and pink tennis shoes but the main character is anything but. Although we do see her in a dress at some point, Jesse Lou likes to chop off all her hair on her own and never seems to care how she looks or dresses. What friends she has are mostly boys and you would not think the color pink would appear in her wardrobe. Her older sister Melinda is the self-appointed princess of the family but I never got the feeling that Jesse Lou wanted to be girly. Some girls may be looking for a girly read and be disappointed but the book is great and I would recommend it.
Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls: Moving Day by Meg Cabot is everything you would expect from the author. Cute, funny and even a bit sarcastic it brings the world of Allie Finkle to life for this first work Moving Day. The title is the first in a series and I think will be a hit. Little girls will love it especially the one with a girly side. I know lots of little girls I will be recommending this one too. It would also be great for children anticipating a move in the future or newly moved. It shows a great lesson about not expecting something to be horrible before giving it a chance. I look forward to the next book in the series! Scholastic has also put together a really great Allie Finkle Site for the book with fun games and a rules contest. You can also visit Meg Cabot’s Site to enter to win a copy of the book.
The next book in the series is Allie Finkle: The New Girl which will be out in August!