MMGM Triple Play!

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - 

This is my first time sharing in the MMGM event, but it seemed like a good time to join in the fun. There are several books I want to share. One is a recent release, and two will be out shortly!

(I am late getting this to Shannon Messenger, so it won't be on her page I'm sure... but I'm putting it up anyway!)

Visit her site for more! 

Lastasha and the Kidd on Keys
by Michael Scotto (Goodreads Author), Evette Gabriel (Illustrator)
Paperback, 254 pages
Published March 19th 2013 by Midlandia Press
ISBN 0983724393 (ISBN13: 9780983724391)
(Source - electronic ARC from the author, but I bought a copy for my classroom library after reading)

Goodreads Summary: Latasha Gandy returns in Latasha and the Kidd on Keys, the story of a whip-smart and headstrong nine-year-old living in Pittsburgh with her nurse’s aide mother and a three-legged rescue dog named Ella Fitzgerald.

Latasha leads a very full life. But something isn’t quite right. She can feel it when she spends time with her best friend Ricky’s picture-perfect family -- a longing, a sense that something is missing. Latasha soon realizes that it’s not something that’s missing, but someone: her father, Patrick Kidd, a charming but utterly unreliable musician whom she hasn’t seen in years. When Latasha gets a chance to reconnect, the almost-fourth-grader resolves to make “The Kidd” a real part of her family. Through laughter and tears, and with profound empathy, this novel follows Latasha as she struggles with her flighty father, the growing friction between herself and Ricky, a massive school project -- and, as always, a puppy whose loving nature is surpassed only by her naughtiness.
My Thoughts:
I often end up with books that are great for my upper grade elementary but make me leery to hand off to the younger kids in my crew. This book is perfect to help round out my classroom library. Latasha is so sweet, and the story will be one that even my second and third graders can enjoy. She's a gifted youngster who is proud of her talents yet still works hard to do her best (which is a nice departure from some of the slightly rude and disrespectful models of giftedness in other young MG books). I found it to be a quick and enjoyable read, and I loved the friendship and adorable dogs!

It has the right mixture of laughter, love, and happy but realistic events. This is now on my shelves, and I can't wait until the buzz starts to spread.

13 Story Treehouse
by Andy Griffiths, Terry Denton (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 256 pages
Expected publication: 
April 16th 2013 by Feiwel & Friends (first published January 1st 2011)
ISBN 1250026903 (ISBN13: 9781250026903)
Original Title (published in Australia)
The 13-Storey Treehouse

Goodreads Summary:
Who wouldn't want to live in a treehouse? Especially a 13-storey treehouse that has a bowling alley, a see-through swimming pool, a tank full of sharks, a library full of comics, a secret underground laboratory, a games room, self-making beds, vines you can swing on, a vegetable vaporiser and a marshmallow machine that follows you around and automatically shoots your favourite flavoured marshmallows into your mouth whenever it discerns you're hungry.
Two new characters – Andy and Terry – live here, make books together, and have a series of completely nutty adventures. Because: ANYTHING can happen in a 13-storey treehouse.

My Thoughts:
This one hits the sweet spot - funny, lots of illustrations, and two highly creative kids who make their own books! I loved the silliness of the story, and I can easily see it inspiring my own students to make their own books with their friends. What age group will like it? Well, both of my sons (3rd and 5th) snagged it before I could read it myself - and they both read it multiple times before grudgingly returning it to me.

Let's round out the triple play with a mystery that will intrigue and delight older middle grade readers.

Girl from Felony Bay
by J.E. Thompson (Goodreads Author)
Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected publication: April 30th 2013 by Walden Pond Press
ISBN 0062104462 (ISBN13: 9780062104465)Source: ARC from the publisher

Goodreads Summary: 
I'm not going to lie to you: the last year has been rougher than alligator hide for me and my dad. You see, he's in the hospital in a coma since his accident a year back, wherein he was framed for a terrible crime he didn't commit. Our home, Reward Plantation, had to be sold to pay off his debt to society, so I'm stuck living with my uncle Charlie, who, even in the few hours a day when he's sober, ain't exactly your ideal parental role model. And I managed to run afoul of Jimmy Simmons, the meanest kid in the sixth grade, and on the last day of school no less.

But things just got a bit more interesting. Turns out the new family that moved into Reward Plantation has a daughter named Bee, who is the same age as I am. And she's just as curious about all the No Trespassing signs and holes being dug out by Felony Bay, in the corner of what used to be my home. Seems like someone's been poking around a mystery that dates all the way back to the Civil War--and it just might be the same someone who framed my dad.

I'm Abbey, by the way. Abbey Force. And if it takes all summer, I'm going to find out what's happening out on Felony Bay, and maybe even clear my dad's name.

My Thoughts:
What a wonderful story - filled with adventure and mystery. Buried treasure, car chases... what's not to love? Kids who love adventure, mystery, or friendship stories will all find something in this book that speaks to them. I'm a teacher who lives in a completely different world from the world of this South Carolina setting - with all its heat, swampy areas, and snakes. I know I have a ton of kids who would love to see this world (though maybe not traipse through the mud or fend off cottonmouth snakes with the protagonists of the story).

The best part is the amazing friendship between two smart and courageous young women. This is a MUST acquire book for middle grade libraries, and one that will also appeal into middle school.

The OTHER best part? Take a look at that cover. It should be easier to find books with more diverse looking characters on the covers, but sadly it's not. So covers like this make me very happy.

Disclaimer: Even when I receive a book from a publisher, I only give my honest opinions about the books. 


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