Monday, May 30, 2011

Cool MG Summer Reads

Whether you’re lying by the pool or sitting in your favorite air-conditioned coffee shop, summer is the time to lose yourself in a great middle grade novel. Here are some I enjoyed:

 Any Which Wall by Laurel Snyder

This is a book with a timeless feel in the tradition of E. Nesbit, Edward Eager, and C. S. Lewis. It made me feel like a third grader, discovering Half Magic for the first time--and, indeed, the author views the book as an homage to Eager. One hot summer in Iowa, four kids find a magic wall in a cornfield, and are transported to other times and places! The reader will be transported, too.

Links to other reviews:
JKR Books
Charlotte's Library
Noel Devries

The Visconti House by Elsbeth Edgar

A story of a lonely girl who loves to write and draw, a boy with a secret, and a mysterious old house. Laura feels isolated from the other kids at school. Her self-consciousness about her unconventional family and her own nonconformity makes her reluctant to openly befriend Leon, even though she knows he need a friend. As Laura and Leon slowly overcome their mutual defensiveness, they work together to unravel the history of the Visconti House. This is a sweet and innocent realistic middle grade with just a hint of romance. Laura is a very young fourteen--her reactions would be more believable if she were ten or eleven--and at times you may want to yell at her to stop being so spineless. Still, the story is surprisingly moving and well worth reading.

Links to other reviews:
Charlotte's Library
Book Yurt

Emmy and the Home for Troubled Girls by Lynne Jonell

I’m already a fan of Lynne Jonell, having enjoyed Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat and The Secret of Zoom, so I knew I was in for a fun read with Emmy and the Home for Troubled Girls. (Is that a great title, or what?) Emmy and her rodent friends are back for another adventure, matching wits with Emmy’s former nanny, Miss Barmy, who is still atrociously evil, even though she’s now a rat.
Links to other reviews:
Too Cool Books
We Be Reading

Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on


Marcia said...

Ruth, these sound awesome.

Aimee said...

Great suggestions, Ruth! I hope you are enjoying your summer!

Ms. Yingling said...

I LOVED Any Which Wall, but it's been a hard sell in my library. I am still glad I bought it, though, for those students who adore Eager.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Marcia--hope others like them as much as I did!

Aimee, I'm having a GREAT summer! Hope you are, too. I tried to comment on your blog yesterday, but it wouldn't go through... I'll try again.

Ms. Yingling, why do you think that is? As much as I loved it, I found the illustrations unappealing. Maybe the older kids think it looks too juvenile.

Steven W said...

Thanks for the suggestions, I'll be sure to check them out.

Timothy Power said...

WHY haven't I caught up with Emmy yet? *makes resolution*

Ruth said...

Steven and Tim, hope you enjoy them. They are quirky, but fun. The most recent one involved soccer, sailing, and a rodent beauty pageant.

Laura L. Sullivan said...

I'm a huge fan of Lynne Jonell (and of rats)!
I'll have to give the others a try, too -- especially Any Which Wall. Sounds like exactly my kind of book!

Kathy M said...

Thanks so much for the great list. I have two tween daughters and this will be very helpful in getting them away from the t.v!