Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Making Progress: 2 More Reviews

Here is how the stack looked when I started.Here it is now.I've managed to get through two more books since I last posted about my reading stack. I've also managed to squeeze in a trip to DC to see my son sing with his high school choir at the Kennedy Center. They were part of a 300 member choir that performed with the U.S. Army Symphony for a Memorial Day Celebration. It was incredible, inspiring, awesome, moving and on and on and on. Just let it be said that there were goosebumps and tears all around.
The Reinvention of Bessica Lefter by Kristen Tracy is a great middle school transition book. Bessica decides to reinvent herself before she starts middle school. So she destroys the elementary school journal she kept with her friend Sylvie, gets all new clothes, and a drastic haircut. She talks Sylvie into the same haircut and that is the straw that breaks Sylvie's mother's back! She forbids the friendship and enrolls Sylvie in a different school. Now Bessica must really reinvent herself because she has no friends at her middle school and doesn't know how to make them. The trials that come Bessica's way are typical middle school stuff, and that's what makes this such a good transition story, I think kids will relate to her troubles. Fortunately for Bessica she has a strong support system at home from her parents to the live in grandmother who takes a camping trip with her new boyfriend just as school starts, but keeps in touch through mail and cell phone. All in all the book does a nice job of handling the middle school issues and I already have a few fifth grade girls who will really enjoy this book in mind.

The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic by Jennifer Trafton is a fun fantasy that can be read at many levels. On it's surface it's about a small island country that thinks it's the center of everything. When a surprise is discovered under the mountain, Mt. Majestic, in the center of the island, the islander's life is changed forever. But, like the book itself, there are lots of themes and ideas under the surface of Mt. Majestic that make this book ripe for discussions. The fact that the islanders think they are the center of the world and are willing to accept that there is nothing else out there is one. The boy king who looks down on his subjects and will never leave the hilltop castle to mingle with them is another. The heroine, Persimonny, who believes in her missing father and all that he stood far, at least as far as she knows will lead to discussions of loyalty and family. Persimonny's friend Worvil who continues to shrink due to his self doubt will open another avenue of discussion. There are so many ways this book could go that it keeps the reader going and on the Island at the Center of Everything. Throw in the illustrations by Brett Helquist and some very funny stuff and I think it makes for a book that kids who love fantasy will love.

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