22 August 2014

August 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.

Your young readers will have a hard time picking between the two winning books for this month's book club. One is adventure and mystery and one is tough historical fiction. Both, however, are excellent.

Loot by Jude WatsonJude Watson is best known for her 39 Clues series, but her new book, Loot: How to Steal a Fortune, is destined to win her a whole new group of avid fans. March McQuin, just a few weeks shy of his thirteenth birthday, is visiting Amsterdam with his dad. But don't be misled, this is no ordinary father-son team; they are, in fact, notorious jewel thieves. Well, March is still in training.

When his father's latest heist goes terribly wrong, March is there to witness his father's fall from a tall building. Left with some cryptic last words, a list of random words, a deck of cards, and a book, March tries to figure out what he should do next. As he begins to solve the clues his father left him, with the help of three other kids, he learns some truths about himself and his family.

Loot is one rollicking adventure, with a cast of four young criminal minds pitted against some not-so-trust-worthy adults. There are magical moonstones to be found, locks to be picked, computers to be hacked, and millions upon millions of dollars to be made. The clues are fun to work out, and the action is almost nonstop. Twisty, funny, and sometimes scary, the novel is sure to grab the attention of both boy and girls.

Book clubs will have a lot to discuss. The main themes are family and trust, but kids will also want to talk about having adventures and what it might be like to try to live on their own. There's also the issue of stealing, which in this book is simply the McQuin family business. Other great questions can be found on the Scholastic mother-daughter book club site. The suggested recipe is for homemade ice pops which has particular meaning to March and one of the other kids in the gang.

Zane and the Hurricane by Rodman PhilbrickMany reviewers have heaped praise on Rodman Philbrick's Zane and the Hurricane, which is a story about a boy whose first visit to relatives in New Orleans is disrupted by Katrina. Zane Dupree, just twelve years old, travels from his native New Hampshire to meet his great-grandmother and to get to know her city. When the storm hits, his dog escapes and Zane goes running after him. The two survive the storm but risk getting trapped as the waters begin to rise.

Fortunately, boy and dog are saved by an old man and the little girl in his care. As the group paddles through the flood water to safety, they see things that Zane will never forget: snakes, destroyed houses, and even dead bodies. This journey is not easy, and Philbrick doesn't hide the dark side of Katrina or New Orleans.

Young readers will not only learn about the impact of the storm on the city but will also get some insight into how our country reacts to natural disasters. Clubs will want to discuss the differences between heroes and villains; race, class, and social divisions in the city; and Zane's New England perspective on what he learns about the South. More discussion questions can be found on the Scholastic mother-daughter book club site. The suggested recipe is for king cakes, which are a special New Orleans treat associated with Mardi Gras.

Loot: Scholastic Press, 2014; ISBN-13: 9780545468022
Zane and the Hurricane: Blue Sky Press, 2014; ISBN-13: 9780545342384
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).


bermudaonion 8/22/14, 9:08 AM  

Ooh, I want to read Zane and the Hurricane!

Jen Forbus 8/22/14, 1:41 PM  

O.k. LOOT just sounds too cute. I'm going to have to find this one!

Julie P. 8/22/14, 10:02 PM  

LOOT looks terrific and I love how there is a recipe to make for the meeting!

Daryl 8/23/14, 11:29 AM  

sounds like excellent reading .. the times-picayune used to be one of 'our' newspapers and for as long as i can remember we'd get a king cake every february .. i miss it even tho it wasn't really very good ...

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