Thursday, July 28, 2011

Great for the Middle

I try to read a wide range of books for children and young adults. In the past, that has meant I might have missed some good middle grade novels. All that ended when I decided to write NAKED READING about 5 years ago. Now, I scour the shelves, the listservs, Twitter and Facebook for good recommendations of books for tweens. Here are two great choices for intermediate readers. By the way, for those of you who do not follow my blog on LiveJournal, the number in parentheses after each book is how many books I have read thus far this year. The first year I set a goal, it was for 100 books. Last year I read over 500. I am simply trying to keep myself motivated to read even on those days I would rather veg out in front of the TV. And, I count picture books in this total as well.

I heard Sarah Weeks talk about PIE (Scholastic, October 2011) at the ALA Conference in New Orleans. The cover is right up my alley, the topic is one I can get into quite readily as well. PIE is the story of Alice and her Aunt Polly. Polly is a pie maker extraordinaire. Her store is always a popular place for the town residents to visit and, of course, walk away with pie. But Polly does not sell her pies; she gives them away. When Polly dies, Alice is disconsolate. Aunt Polly understood her better than her own parents (who could never understand how Polly could give away things she could make money with). Polly left her award winning (she won more Blueberry Awards than anyone else ever) to Lardo, her cat. Now, the rest of the townspeople feel compelled to try their hands at making pies with predictably disastrous results. There is also a mystery afoot when Lardo disappears and Aunt Polly's pie shop is ransacked. <350>

This quick reading, funny, and delicious novel is about more than pies obviously. There is some lovely tongue in cheek humor for the grown ups surrounding the Blueberry Award (too much fun). Tweens will find this novel tasty. Recipes included.

I loved the first book in The Deadlies series. Now Kathryn Lasky offers readers, SPIDERS ON THE CASE. A family of brown recluse spiders have taken up residence at the public library with the blessings of one of the librarians who encourages them to feed on the book lice and silverfish that destroy the books in his care. Jo Bell Deadly observes a patron using a razor blade to cut pages out of a rare book. How can she communicate this theft to the librarian? <351>

Not only are the books fun to read, there is a great deal of information to be had here, too. Jo Bell and her family love a variety of books and learn all manner of facts to share with one another and with readers.

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