Sunday, August 21, 2016

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (August 22, 2016): Ruby Goldberg's Bright Idea by Anna Humphrey, and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton

Other posts:
Poetry Thursday (August 18, 2016): "The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver

My feature today is for Ruby Goldberg's Bright Idea by Anna Humphrey, and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton.

Here's the publisher's description:

Ten-year-old Ruby Goldberg is determined to win her school science fair and beat her nemesis Dominic Robinson. She’s snagged second place for the last two years, and she’s set on claiming first prize. The only trouble is that Ruby has no ideas. When her grandfather’s beloved basset hound dies, Ruby thinks of the perfect thing that will cheer him up and win her first place—an innovative, state-of-the-art, not-to-be-duplicated Ruby Goldberg invention!

Before long Ruby is so busy working on her idea that she ignores everything else in her life, including her best friend, Penny. And what started out as simple turns into something much more complicated! Can Ruby get her priorities—and her project—in order before it’s too late?

This book is absolutely amazing! First of all, Ruby is a great character. She is likable and her interest in inventing is very fun to read about, but she's not without flaws and is easily distracted from everything else in her life. Her perspective on many things, such as her enemy, Dominic, changes a lot throughout the story. The death of Ruby's grandfather's dog, Tomato, is also important in the story, and changes her grandfather, a happy person, into a sad person in a realistic way. This book is a great read for anyone!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Poetry Thursday (August 18, 2016): "The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver

I've decided to start Poetry Thursdays, in which I will post a link to a poem that I love. Today's poem is "The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver. Click here for the poem.

(Note: This link won't open in another window, so, if you want it to, right-click it and click on "Open in New Tab" or "Open in New Window." If you have a Mac mouse that doesn't right-click, turn right-click on in the settings.)

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (August 15, 2016): Ava and Pip by Carol Weston

Edit (10/30/2016): A formatting error has been fixed.

It feels like it's been two weeks since my last post! But I checked and nope, it's only been one. Anyway, for today's MMGM, I'm reviewing Ava and Pip, by Carol Weston.

Here's the publisher's description:

Meet outgoing Ava Wren, a fun fifth grader who tries not to lose patience with her shy big sister. When Pip's 13th birthday party turns into a disaster, Ava gets a story idea for a library contest.
But uh-oh, Ava should never have written "Sting of the Queen Bee." Can Ava and her new friend help Pip come out of her shell? And can Ava get out of the mess she has made?

I really enjoyed this book. It is depicted as Ava's diary, which is a nice change from the traditional first-person point of view. There are also two interesting ideas in the story that aren't in the description. The first is that Ava's family loves words (Ava enjoys writing), and the children's names were chosen because they are palindromes, or words that are the same if written backwards. Ava then notices many different palindromes throughout the story, which is a nice touch to the story. The second is that Ava also feels that her parents pay more attention to Pip than to her, which adds another struggle to the two shown in the publisher's description. The story that Ava writes, Sting of the Queen Bee, shows that Ava cares about her sister, and is an interesting way for her to gain a friend. Also, the book has two sequels, Ava and Taco Cat and Ava XOX. The sequels stand up to the high bar set by the first book. The book series has occasional (one or two) slight descriptions of puberty, if you're screening for a younger child. This book is a great read for anyone, young or old.

P.S. I will post articles on my blog during the week, but I probably won't have one every day. However, stay tuned! For instance, on Thursday, I have a poetry-themed surprise for you! Also, if you enjoy reading my blog, leave comments, answer the poll (for some reason, you may have to click Vote several times, so check to see if your vote is added), and subscribe via the "Follow by Email" widget, which will deliver new posts to your e-mail!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (August 8, 2016): When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Edit (October 6, 2016): A formatting error has been fixed.

Hi! Welcome to my new blog, Completely Full Bookshelf! This post is for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (MMGM), a meme created by middle-grade author Shannon Messenger, author of the Keeper of the Lost Cities series. As a reader of these books and a student who recently completed middle school, I decided to join the MMGM fun with my own blog! Today, I am reviewing Newbery Medal-winning When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead.

Here's the publisher's description:

This remarkable novel holds a fantastic puzzle at its heart.

By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it’s safe to go, and they know who to avoid. Like the crazy guy on the corner.

But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a kid on the street for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda’s mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then a mysterious note arrives, scrawled on a tiny slip of paper. The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realizes that whoever is leaving them knows things no one should know. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she’s too late.

Firstly, this book is one of my favorites of all time. The setting of New York City in 1979 is incredibly believable and descriptive, and adds depth to the story. The main character, Miranda, is a great character and narrator, and the other characters in the story, such as friends that Miranda makes in the story, are enjoyable and have interesting personalities. The classic A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle is often discussed, and hints at the end resolution of When You Reach Me. Finally, the question of who is sending the notes is an interesting one, and has an amazing answer. All in all, When You Reach Me is a book that everyone, kid or adult, will love and appreciate.