01 July 2014

June Selections for the Scholastic Mother-Daughter Book Club

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.

OK,  I know it's already July (though I'm in denial!), but it's not too late to read the June book club selections. All the materials on the Scholastic site are still available; just click on the "archive" button on the Mother-Daughter Book Club page.

This month the selections are very different from each other, although neither book takes place in the real world. Let's take a look.

Cinderella Stays Late by Joan Holub and Suzanne WilliamsJoan Holub and Suzanne Williams's Cinderella Stays Late is the first in the very cute Grimmtastic Girls series. These books take a modern look at traditional fairy tales and are set in the Grimm Academy, a school that is full of magical surprises.

When her dad remarries, Cinda is enrolled in a new school, and her popular stepsisters are tasked with showing her the ropes. The Steps, however, are jealous of their new sister and try to steer her wrong at every chance. Fortunately, Cinda has made new friends--Red, Snow, and Rapunzel--and has even caught the attention of another new student, who just happens to be a prince. What will Cinda do when she's invited to the school dance but doesn't have a thing to wear?

Middle grade girls will love this fun story of friendship and magic. Although her stepsisters are definitely mean girls, Cinda learns that happiness is found by being true to oneself and through the power of friendship. I love the idea that Cinda is very athletic and actually prefers playing ball to going to a ball. The message that girls can like pretty dresses but still be smart and strong shines in this easy-to-read fairy tale retelling.

The discussion questions on the Scholastic mother-daughter book club site pick up on the themes of family, friendship, and fantasy. The suggested recipe is for chocolate pumpkin brownies, which will remind the book club members of Peter Pumpkin Eater, whose pumpkin plays a part in this story.

A Dark Inheritance by Chris D'LaceyChris D'Lacey's A Dark Inheritance is also the first in a new series. This one stars young Michael Malone, who is coping with the fact that his father, a traveling salesman, disappeared without a trace a few years earlier. The boy had no idea of his dad's fate, until the day he saved a runaway dog from falling off a cliff. From that moment on, Michael learns that nothing is what it seems: time is mutable, ghosts exist, and he may possess a talent for solving mysteries or even finding his father.

This action-packed story is part paranormal and part thriller and follows Michael's adventures after he's recruited by a secret organization that looks into odd shifts in time and history. The twisty plot and quirky characters make for an exciting tale, as the teen makes new friends (mostly girls!), escapes from dangerous enemies, and hunts for his father, all while trying to pretend he's a normal kid.

Book club members will likely talk about Michael's newfound powers and the tough, smart girls who become his allies (or are they?). They'll also want to talk about the ending (no spoilers here!) and what they think will happen in the next book. The questions on the Scholastic mother-daughter book club site encourage readers to think about how Michael's involvement with the secret group affect his relationships with his mother and his classmates. The recipe is for a dragon fruit shake, which is appropriate because a couple of the characters really love dragons.

Cinderella Stays Late: Scholastic Inc., 2014; ISBN-13: 9780545519830
A Dark Inheritance: Scholastic Press, 2014; ISBN-13: 9780545608763
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).


bermudaonion 7/1/14, 7:53 AM  

It's nice to see they chose such different genres.

Daryl 7/1/14, 10:14 AM  

the D'Lacey book sounds like a fun read

bookjourney 7/1/14, 12:26 PM  

I think Mother daughter books clubs are so cool. I have heard of several amazing ideas for them but sadly - never had a daughter to do this wish :)

Vicki 7/2/14, 12:09 AM  

The Mother Daughter Book Club sounds fun! I like that there's a variety of genres.

I love the series name Grimmtastic Girls!!

Julie P. 7/7/14, 6:33 PM  

This program is near and dear to my heart. The Grimmtastic Girls series looks adorable!

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