09 February 2015

Review: Recommended Duo for Your Middle Grade Reader

Looking for a couple of good books for your middle grade readers? Here are two from Jabberwocky I can wholeheartedly recommend for your young reader or even for yourself.

How to Outswim a Shark without a Snorkel by Jess KeatingHow to Outswim a Shark without a Snorkel by Jess Keating: Thirteen-year-old Ana Wright's family owns a zoo, complete with a new aquarium. Although she should be worried about becoming shark bait, Ana's instead learning how to swim the dangerous waters of middle school friendships. When she is asked to help maintain the shark tank over the summer, Ana is dismayed to learn that she'll have to work with her classmate Ashley, who has a reputation for being a mean girl. Will the two girls find a way to get along? Jess Keating uses humor and zoological facts to explore important middle grade themes, such as popularity, friendships, first crushes, making judgments about others, family, and responsibility. Besides realistic dialogue and easy-to-relate-to characters, the novel includes fun graphics that mimic diary entries, animal facts files, and handwritten notes. I love the way these features break up the chapters and help pull us into Ana's world. Although this is the second installment in the My Life Is a Zoo series, How to Outswim a Shark without a Snorkel stands solidly on its own, so don't hesitate to jump right in. (Sourcebooks / Jabberwocky; ISBN: 9781402297588)

Dinosaur Boy by Cory Putman OakesDinosaur Boy by Cory Putman Oakes: Over the summer before fifth grade, eleven-year-old Sawyer Bronson might have expected to start to see signs of his impending maturity, but he wasn't quite prepared for his new spikes and tail! Sawyer's family, you see, carries dinosaur genes, the result of a long-ago scientific mishap. When school starts, Sawyer has a lot to contend with: Besides learning to deal with a dangerous tail, he also has to cope with being teased by some of his classmates. Fortunately, the principal doesn't allow bullying, but when the mean kids begin to mysteriously disappear, Sawyer has to decide if should try to find out what happened to them. Cory Putman Oakes weaves a number of good lessons--especially giving others a second chance, rising to the occasion, and learning tolerance--in this zany look at an alternative world. Strong characters, including one of Sawyer's female friends; a good plot twist; and some humor make this a terrific start to a new middle grade Sci-Fi series that celebrates diversity, self-acceptance, and heroism. Middle grade readers of both sexes will love getting to know Sawyer. (Sourcebooks / Jabberwocky; ISBN: 9781492605379)


bermudaonion 2/9/15, 9:25 AM  

Those both look adorable to me!

Belle Wong 2/9/15, 9:53 PM  

These look great! I think Dylan would enjoy both of them.

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