31 October 2013

Scholastic Mother-Daughter Book Club Picks for October

Remember when I introduced you to the Scholastic Mother Daughter Book Club for middle readers? I'm committed to featuring or reviewing all the books selected for this club because I think Scholastic has picked winning titles that have broad appeal.

Don't forget that the Scholastic book club site includes more information about the books, recipes, reading guides, and contests. The resources are perfect for book clubs, teachers, homeschoolers, and any one who wants to get more out of reading books with middle grade readers.

The Last Present by Wendy MassLast year I reviewed Wendy Mass's 11 Birthdays, an early Scholastic book club pick, which is when I first met Amanda and Leo, birthday twins and (usually) best friends. In The Last Present, Mass gives us another time-bending tale involving the likable young teens.

In this adventure, Amanda and Leo must go back in time to help their town's oldest citizen correct a mistake she made years earlier. They soon realize their task isn't going to be all that easy. Not only do they have to be careful about not introducing any anachronisms when they are in the past but they also discover that someone may have been sabotaging the older woman.

Wendy Mass hasn't lost her touch when it comes to creating believable young characters. I love how she allowed Amanda and Leo to grow up and that their relationship is beginning to mature. Plus there are plenty of great themes to keep book club members engaged, such as becoming a teen, changing relationships between boys and girls, and the different phases of friendship. See the thoughtful discussion questions over at the Scholastic mother-daughter book club site for more ideas plus a yummy recipe for apple cinnamon bars.

The Wolf Prncess by Cathryn ConstableCathryn Constable's The Wolf Princess stars young Sophie, an orphan, who has always dreamed of having an exciting life in the cold north forests, just like in the stories her father used to tell. When she and her two best friends are given a chance to visit St. Petersburg, Sophie can hardly believe that her dreams may be coming true. After some travel mishaps put the girls in danger, they are rescued by a new friend. Anna tells them she's a real-life Russian princess, but her winter palace has an evil feel, and the wolves are howling in the woods.

The Wolf Princess is a fun adventure story with fantasy or fairy tale elements. Constable has created sympathetic characters with clear personalities and particularly shines when developing the setting. Her descriptions of the Russian winter will have you shivering from both the cold and the underlying unease the girls feel under Anna's care.

Book club members will likely talk about what the girls learn about friendship and discovering their individual strengths. The questions available on Scholastic mother-daughter book club site cover trust, travel, and specific events in the novel. The suggested recipe is for home-made raspberry jam, which is the perfect accompaniment for Russian tea.

This post will be linked to Kid Konnection, hosted by Julie at Booking Mama.

The Last Present: Scholastic / Scholastic Press, 2013; ISBN-13: 9780545310161
The Wolf Princess: Scholastic / Chicken House, 2013; ISBN-13:9780545528399
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).


rhapsodyinbooks 10/31/13, 6:56 AM  

I have always loved time travel books. Who wouldn't want to go back to correct mistakes?!!!

Laura Fabiani 10/31/13, 12:18 PM  

My daughter and I read a few books by Wendy Mass which we loved! I will make a note of this latest one for us to read together. I love this feature on your blog! Thanks so much for highlighting great books for mother/daughter book clubs.

Daryl 11/1/13, 2:32 PM  

love time travel books .. my all time favorite is Time and Again ...

Karen White 12/1/13, 1:25 PM  

We love Wendy Mass in our family, too! I highly recommend the audiobooks of this series - I think Kathleen McInerney is fabulous.

Will check out the Wolf Princess! I wish I could get my 5th grader to be interested in a mother-daughter book club :(

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