Category Archives: Realistic fiction

#365PictureBooks Day 33 – The red poppy by David Hill

 

“Jim, a soldier on the Western Front in World War 1, is wounded while charging through No Man’s Land. He stumbles into a shell crater for shelter and finds a badly wounded German soldier. The two men try to help each other, but it’s Nipper, the messenger dog, whose gallantry gives them a chance for survival.”

I’m busy putting together WW100 and ANZAC Day resources for a school wide project we are working on. Picture books and sophisticated picture books play an important  part in the curation of resources for a school wide project for all our students from Y1 up to Y13. There is nothing like a picture book to show readers big issues and explain them in an age appropriate but still thought provoking way.

My first pick is the Red Poppy by David Hill. We will also be using the Te Reo edition Te popi whero.  I love the moody and emotive illustrations which use a very sombre and minimal palette of grey and brown. The poppies and the blood stand out as the only red on the battlefield and colour on the pages.

The red poppy was the Storylines Notable Picture Book for 2013.

Other resources and links:

Teachers notes – Scholastic

NZ Herald review – interview with the author and background information on the writing and production process.

Bibliographic details:

The red poppy / Written by David Hill and illustrated by Fifi Coulston, with contributions by Rob Kennedy.

Published by Scholastic, 2012.

38 pages+ CD contains song: Little red poppy / by Rob Kennedy.

ISBN:9781869439989

RRP NZ$ 33.00

Realistic fiction for girls : Series Spotlight “The Casson Family” by Hillary Mckay

A while back I set myself a goal of blogging about any wonderful series or authors I was discovering or rediscovering to meet the seemingly insatiable desire of some of my 10+ students for books similar to Jacqueline Wilson and Cathy Cassidy. These girls love realistic fiction with heart, that talk about families, friendships and relationships. They prefer realism to fantasy and don’t mind if things get a bit gritty – in fact if the lives of the characters are totally different to their own then all the better.

Sadly blogging has been hard work this term and although I have read books that fit this bill perfectly, up until now I hadn’t had any free time to reflect on them let alone write something. My school and library has upgraded our Library Management System and implemented an ebook lending platform. Both things took a lot of time but more importantly…energy!

Last night I had the pleasure of finishing the 5th book in a wonderful series by English Author Hilary Mckay. The series is the Casson Family.

When I read the first book Saffy’s Angel I really did not know what to expect, however I was completely swept away with these stories and have thought about the characters and their family dynamic long after I closed each book. There are so many layers to the relationships between the members of this family and their friends. The characters in these books feel so real that after reading each book you feel like you have been a part of their lives, sitting in their kitchen with a cup of tea listening in to their conversations, and you wish you could spend more time with them. As I read these books, I could imagine girls of 10 enjoying them now – perhaps not understanding everything but this wouldn’t affect their reading pleasure. These are the sort of books that deserve to be owned, loved and reread often as the owner grows up. I can see that many subtle ideas and feelings will become apparent to the reader as she matures and has experiences of her own. In fact I can almost guarantee that in re-reading these, a year or so apart, the reader will have new insights into the feelings of the characters and what is going on behind the scenes. Reading the stories reminded me of all sorts of things I felt growing up but the book felt just as real looking at it from the Mother’s point of view at this other end of my life (I felt I had a lot in common with her and not just because she calls everyone Darling!).

It will be interesting to see how my students find these. They are eccentrically English and it takes  a little bit to get into the groove. These books deserve to be savoured in a long sitting (by the fire in winter on a rainy afternoon or under a tree in a gentle breeze in summer…definitely not to be read in a rush or in snatches!) One of my students has read Saffy’s Angel on my recommendation and loved it. Somehow I knew she was the kind of girl that would – she is 10, quite mature, a bit of a thinker and passionate about what she likes. This is more a thinking/feeling girls series than JW in my opinion. I now need to read Hillary’s other series The Exiles.

The Casson Family books in order:

  1. Saffy’s Angel, 2001
  2. Indigo’s star, 2003
  3. Permanent Rose, 2005
  4. Caddy ever after, 2006
  5. Forever Rose, 2007
  6.  Caddy’s world, 2011 (This is a prequel).

The stories are self contained and although there is a lovely feeling of familiarity from having read them in order, it isn’t absolutely necessary to do so. Book synopsis for each book taken from Goodreads.com

Saffy’s Angel:

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Goodreads: Saffron’s two sisters, Cadmium and Rose, and her brother Indigo were all named from a color chart by their mother Eve, a fine-arts painter. When Saffron, known as Saffy, discovers that her name is not on the chart, it soon leads to another discovery. She has been adopted.

Life in the Banana House, as their home is called, is never dull. Caddy, the eldest, is taking driving lessons from an instructor who happens to be a very attractive young man. Indigo dreams up ways, sometimes quite dangerous, to conquer fear. Rose, the youngest, has learned how to get her own way without upsetting the other. As for Saffy, all she remembers from when she was very small is a stone angel in a garden in Italy. With the help of a newfound friend, Saffy sets out on an adventurous and sometimes hilarious search for her angel.

Indigo’s star:

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Goodreads: Indigo, having just recovered from a bout of [glandular fever], must return to school after missing an entire [term]. Only his younger sister and loyal sidekick, Rose, knows why he’s dreading it so much. As it turns out, the school bullies are eagerly awaiting Indigo’s return so that they can pick up where they left off—flushing his head in the toilet. But Indigo hasn’t counted on meeting Tom, an American student who is staying with his grandmother in England for the year. With his couldn’t-care-less attitude and rock-and-roll lifestyle, Tom becomes Indigo’s ally, and together they work to take back the school.

Meanwhile, eight-year-old Rose is desperately trying to avoid wearing horrible glasses, nineteen-year-old Caddy is agonizing over her many suitors, Saffy is working overtime with her best friend, Sarah, to protect Indigo from the gang, and with their father, Bill, in London at his art studio, their mother, Eve, is just trying to stay on top of it all!.

Permanent Rose:

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Goodreads:Feisty Rose takes center stage as the highly original Casson family faces a long, hot summer. As usual, things are a bit chaotic. Eldest daughter Caddy is now engaged to darling Michael, and she’s not altogether sure she likes it. Saffy and Sarah are on a mission to find Saffy’s biological father (while cultivating hearts of stone). Indigo is cautiously beginning a friendship with a reformed bully, who desparately wants to feel like part of the Casson family. Rose, while missing Tom (who none of them have heard from) dreadfully, enters into a life of petty crime, shoplifting small items until her misadventures nearly bring disaster. An accidental trip to London and a visit with Rose’s father lead to a startling revelation, but through it all Rose’s single-minded determination to find Tom remains as fierce as it is hopeless. Or is it?

Caddy ever after:

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Goodreads: Love is in the air for the Casson family! Four hilarious, endearing tales unfold as Rose, Indigo, Saffy, and Caddy each tell their intertwining stories. Rose begins by showing how she does special with her Valentine’s card for Tom in New York. Not to be outdone, Indigo has his own surprise in store for the Valentine,s Day disco at school. For her part, Saffy has an unusual date in a very, very dark graveyard, and is haunted by a balloon that almost costs her her best friend.

But it is Caddy who dares everything — as she tells all about love at first sight when you have found the Real Thing. Unfortunately the Real Thing is not darling Michael. What is Rose going to do?

Forever Rose:

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Author website: As Christmas approaches, eleven-year-old Rose, the youngest member of the eccentric Casson family, discovers that life is filled with both catastrophic problems and wonderful surprises.

Caddys world:

caddysworld

Go back in time… Caddy is 12, grappling with school, best friends, first boy friends, younger siblings and the unexpected arrival of one baby Permanent Rose, a little sooner than expected. While baby Rose lies in critical condition in hospital, life goes on in the unpredictable, colourful Casson household. {I haven’t read this one yet, I’m saving it!}.

Author website: www.hillarymckay.co.uk

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Historical fiction: ‘Queenie’ by Jacqueline Wilson

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Queenie by Jacqueline Wilson. Published by Doubleday, 2013. Paperback, 416 pages. ISBN13: 9780857531124.

It’s 1953, the year Elizabeth is to be crowned Queen of England. Elsie Kettle can’t wait to go to London with her beloved nan to see the Coronation Day celebrations. Then tragedy strikes. Nan and Elsie both fall ill with tuberculosis and Elsie is whisked away to the children’s ward of Miltree Hospital. Confined to bed for months, Elsie misses Nan desperately, and struggles to adapt to the hospital’s strict rules. But every night after lights-out she tells magical tales of adventure to the other children on the ward. For the first time, Elsie finds herself surrounded by true friends – including Queenie, the hospital’s majestic white cat.

Finally Elsie is well enough to leave the hospital. But before she does, she has one very special, very unexpected visitor …

Book Trailer:


What did I think about this book?

I loved this! Although the video trailer portrays a young girl, the story will be loved by my Year 5/6/7 Jacqueline Wilson fans. In my opinion, this is just as good as the Hetty Feather trilogy and I am loving the authors foray into historical fiction.

The characters are beautifully and fully portrayed. Elsie’s Nan reminded me so much of my own Nana who I spent a lot of time with when growing up in the 1960s and early 70s. Reading this instantly took me back to her working class kitchen, being made milky coffees with tinned evaporated milk and luncheon sausage sandwiches on white bread with tomato sauce. For many readers this period is so far removed from their lives it might as well be ancient history – it felt very familiar to me, bringing back memories of Humber cars, wearing ankle socks and patent leather shoes, handmade corduroy pinafores and knitted cardigans. It was really interesting to read about the treatment of tuberculosis in both adults and children. I still find viewing medical equipment from this period, especially “Iron Lungs” in museum displays, creepy and scary. Being taken away from the people you loved and hospitalized in the 1950s must have been very frightening for any child. Elsie suffers from Bovine Tuberculosis, which tended to affect the bones and joints rather than the kind that affects the lungs. She and her ward mates are subjected to long periods in plaster casts and other paraphenalia and are completely bedridden. The children were often taken out into the “fresh air” and weak English sunshine to aid their recovery.  I have just done a quick image search in Google looking for black and white photos of children in tuberculosis wards in this period and they are frightening. Eerily, many of the photos look exactly as I imagined the scenes when reading this book, right down to the matrons and nurses and their hospital corners, and the rows of beds outside.

Woven throughout the story is Elsie’s abandonment and dysfunctional relationship with her mother – another character vividly and realistically portrayed, revealing her unpleasant and selfish nature. There are the usual friendship issues; before diagnosis Elsie struggles to find friends (the stigma of having an unmarried mother and her poverty means she doesn’t make friends easily) and she takes time to find her way with the other children in the hospital – being a mix of ages, both genders and from different socio economic backgrounds. Through her friendship with Queenie the hospital cat, some kind nurses and eventually the real friends she makes in her ward, Elsie comes into her own. Even so, I found this one of the saddest books that I have read recently. The happy ending feels very hard won, but you can’t help but cheer alongside Elsie when it eventually comes.

Very highly recommended, and one I will promote outside the circle of usual JW fans.

AUTHOR WEBSITE: http://www.jacquelinewilson.co.uk (the books section contains a tab with a link to an extract from the book and other reviews).

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Realistic fiction for girls : Author Spotlight – Kate Maryon

Finding books that are similar to Jacqueline Wilson has been a project for me. I have a group of year 6 girls who love JW and are desperate for read alikes. These students love realistic fiction with plenty of family, friendship and relationship drama. My library collection was sorely lacking in complete sets of alternative series or collections by similar authors to offer these girls.  I will be posting about the authors and series I have now sourced, have read and can heartily recommend:

Kate Maryon: I literally stumbled across Kate’s first book Shine at 3.30am one morning when I was unable to sleep and had finished the ebook I was currently reading on my iPad. (I find reading in the night helps me sleep and being able to switch the text to white on a black background with the brightness turned right down, means I don’t disturb my husband!) I was scrolling through the suggested reads in the Kindle Store and saw the cover which had instant impact. I downloaded the story, started to read and was immediately hooked.

Kate Maryon writes books about ordinary girls, like you, who find themselves facing extraordinary, real life situations. She hopes her characters will take you on a journey, a kind of exploration, so you’ll end up thinking, what would my life be like if this thing happened to me? Age Range: 9-12” Source: Girls heart books [blog]

Kate’s books cover some gritty and heartwrenching topics, but this seems to be what my readers are looking for. In many cases they are looking for stories about girls whose lives are sharply different to their own, but where they feel some empathy with the characters. There is always the chance, that for a few readers, they might be looking for their own experiences in a book.

I found Shine heartwrenching and real. I have all 4 books below and can’t wait to get them onto shelves and into hands! These are perfect for readers in the 9-12 age range.

katemaryionshine

Shine by Kate Maryon. Published by HarperCollins 2010.

From Goodreads: Twelve-year-old Tiff loves her mom, Carla, who is glitzy and fun and always coming home with shiny new amazing stuff. The trouble is, Tiff’s mom doesn’t buy things, she takes them. The fact is, Tiff’s mom is a thief. When Carla gets caught, Tiff’s shiny life is ruined. She’s packed off to a remote island to live with Carla’s family. A family her mom never even talks about and that Tiff has never even met! How can she survive in this dull, dull place? But the island of Sark isn’t as awful as Tiff imagined it would be. The islanders are kind and honest and she’s happy spending time with them. So three months later, when it’s finally time for her mom to join her, Tiff can’t help feeling more than a little bit worried.

millionangels

 

A million Angels by Kate Maryon. Published by HarperCollins, 2011.

From Goodreads: DAD GOES TO WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, JEMIMA HAS BATTLES OF HER OWN
“We talk about everything, Dad and me. About all the mysteries inside of us. About all our wonderings of the world. But tomorrow my dad goes to war. Then what will I do?”

Jemima’s dad’s in the Army and he’s off to Afghanistan again for six whole months. Her mum’s about to have another baby and hasn’t got the energy to worry about anything else. Granny is staying to help out, but her head is filled with her own wartime memories. So while Mima is sending Dad millions of angels every night to keep him safe, who is looking out for her?

katemaryonglitter

Glitter by Kate Maryon. Published by HarperCollins, 2011.

From Goodreads: CREDIT CRUNCH THROWS LIBERTY PARFITT’S WORLD UPSIDE DOWN
Taken away from the boarding school she loves, Liberty and her angry dad are forced to stay in a friend’s flat in a rough part of London where she finds herself in a school that’s locally known as ‘The Grave.’ Without her best friend’s violin to play, Liberty feels as if her life couldn’t get any worse; then there’s the nasty Tyler boy and her dad’s depression and the gang by the canal… If only she had a mum, then things might be better – and what actually did happen to her mum? Well, there are the trunks in Dad’s bedroom and the violin on the bed and, once her curiosity is sparked, Liberty discovers a whole lot more about her past than she ever could have imagined.

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A sea of stars by Kate Maryon. Published by HarperCollins, 2012.

From Goodreads: Meet Maya. She has a cosy, comfy life with her slightly hippy mum and dad by the sea in Cornwall. But as an only child, Maya feels smothered by her parents’ love and longs to be a given more freedom and independence; but what Maya wants more than anything is a sister.

Meet Cat. She’s never known her dad and her mum’s an alcoholic and is not capable of looking after herself, let alone her 11 year old daughter. Cat’s spent her life protecting her mum and keeping some dark secrets; all she wants is to be left alone.

But Cat and Maya’s worlds collide when Cat is taken into care and Maya’s parents make the life-changing decision to adopt her. Maya can’t wait to welcome Cat into the family and hopes that by having a sister, her parents might learn to ‘chill out’ and give Maya a bit more freedom. But Cat is angry and resentful and resists Maya’s attempts at friendship and soon Maya’s idea of a perfect family is blown out of the water.

As tensions rise and secrets come out, will the girls ever become friends, let alone sisters?

katemaryoninvisiblegirl

Invisible girl by Kate Maryon. Forthcoming – Due to be published by HarperCollins, June 2013.

I was inspired to write Invisible Girl after reading an article about runaways by Andy McCullough from the Railway Children charity. I was so shocked to discover that every 5 minutes a child in the UK runs away from home, which equals 100,000 under 16’s sleeping rough on our streets each year, that I immediately called Railway Children and spoke to Andy. He confirmed the statistics, went on to tell me about his own experience of being a young runaway and offered himself as a resource for my book.

I wanted Invisible Girl to feel real, to show how easily children can slip through the cracks, unnoticed. How readily, when love is unavailable at home, they will seek it elsewhere, walking into dangerous situations leaving themselves wide open and vulnerable.

As well as to entertain, my wish for Invisible Girl, and all my books, is that it speaks to the children who, like me when I was small, find themselves standing in the shadows facing overwhelming difficulty without support. I hope to hold their hands whilst pointing them toward safety, toward getting the help they need and developing a toolkit for self-care. I want to speak to the loved children too, to inspire compassion and understanding, an appreciation for what they have.

Our streets will continue to make cold hard beds until we can end this sleepy cycle of poverty and abuse that turns runaway children into homeless adults. Against all odds, both Andy and I managed to climb out of our childhood difficulty and create healthy adult lives. Sadly, we are the exception to the rule.” source: Author website.

Book trailer:


LINKS:

  • Author website: http://katemaryon.co.uk (This is a fantastic website – full of resources: extracts from the books, video, images, quotes etc)
  • Author blogging with other women writers who write for girls: http://girlsheartbooks.com – this blog is aimed at age 8-14 readers and is worth following if you are interested in hearing about the latest writing from authors like Joanna Nadin, Sophia Bennett, Kate Maryon, Frances Hardinge, S.C. Ransom and many, many more excellent writers!)

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Great sports story for struggling readers: Scrum! by Tom Palmer

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Scrum! by Tom Palmer. Published by Barrington Stoke, 2012. Paperback, 74 pages, ISBN:9781842999448

Barrington Stoke produce high quality, high interest books for struggling readers. They also produce books that are ‘Dyslexia friendly’ – the font, printing style, page color, length of paragraphs and chapters are all designed for successful reading. This one is tagged Interest age 8-12, reading age 8.

Publisher’s synopsis:

One boy, two codes … How will he decide? When Steven’s mother remarries and moves down south, Steven is torn between loyalty to his dad and a relationship with his mum’s new husband. Maybe even worse, he might have to leave his beloved Rugby League behind for a new Rugby Union team.

What do I think about this book?

Confession 1: Although I live in the greatest Rugby Union playing country in the world.. I don’t follow rugby that closely and I certainly have no real idea about the differences between League and Union – however after reading this book I learnt quite a few things about the codes and the differences between the two. Confession 2: I would never normally  choose and read a sports book… but I read this one quite avidly and found the story really moving (I had a little tear at one point when I could sense Steven’s frustration with his Dad and the choices he had to make.) Surely a sign of great writing if all of this comes across in a 75 page short book!

We have recently purchased Tom Palmer’s Football Academy series and will be getting all his other books for our library collection. Tom is a very generous author – he puts a lot of time into promoting reading, please check out his wonderful website – link below!

My thoughts on Barrington Stoke books:

I am so impressed with these publications that all of the copies in my library have been tagged and put into a section of short/easy/fast reads for my struggling readers (both girls and boys) at year 5/6 level, those with dyslexia, as well as the boys that don’t like reading fiction (these boys will try these sorts of books because they aren’t too thick and the size is ‘just right’). Having these books together in one place has been a hit with our special literacy groups as it reduces the angst the students feel when fruitlessly perusing the shelves for something to read. I believe in making things easier for these kids, but am doubly motivated when I can see they are more successful and their level of frustration is substantially reduced.

I had previously written about Gamer by Chris Bradford (also published by Barrington Stoke) – after reading that book and being so impressed with it, I decided I would have to seek out more from this publisher. What I love about these books is that they are really well written and are good stories that kids WANT to read.The high interest topics are age appropriate and importantly the covers look like those of mainstream books, not something that marks the reader out as being in a special needs group. These books are so well done, that readers of average ability, would be happy to read them as a quick read. Barrington Stoke have a wonderful selection of authors writing for them including Michael Morpurgo, Jo Cotterill, Tommy Donvaband, Chris Bradford, Karen McCombie, Jeremy Strong – something for every taste. These books are wonderful for kids wanting to be seen to be reading the same authors as their peers.

There are many sports books recommended for boys, and sports books are highlighted as a hook for reluctant readers. The problem for me is that a lot of these are American and kiwi boys don’t play or understand American Football and Baseball. Basketball is OK – as it’s very universal, as is Football/Soccer. It is great to see a book with Rugby as the theme as many of my students play the sport. I hope Tom will write more like these. If I can get boys reading these sorts of books there is always the opportunity to ladder them onto other great sports fiction, even if it is about baseball (e.g. Mike Lupica) because once they are confidently reading then they will be happier to explore other titles and will be able to see the parallels about striving for success, acceptance and identifying with the characters no matter which sport is the subject of the story.

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LINKS:

Dear Scarlett by Fleur Hitchcock

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Dear Scarlett by Fleur Hitchcock, Published by Nosy Crow, 2013.

Paperback, 272 pages. (ISBN13: 9780857631503) This will be available in New Zealand for purchase from April.

From the publisher:

A funny, moving and absorbing story about a young girl’s attempts to learn more about her dead father through the objects she finds in a cardboard box he’s left her.

Scarlett and her friend, Ellie, go on a sometimes hilarious, sometimes scary, journey of discovery, following the clues and always remembering to ‘keep looking up’. Was Scarlett’s dad a thief? Was he a spy? And what does it mean to be his daughter?

Fleur Hitchcock is a great new voice in children’s literature, and Dear Scarlett is a great book.

What do I think of this book?

I loved this book – it’s a heartfelt story, and will have you on the verge of tears one minute and laughing out loud the next. This book couldn’t have arrived at a better time for me. I seem to have a large number of student readers desperate for books that they perceive as being in the vein of Jacqueline Wilson. This fits the bill nicely – it’s a fabulous realistic story about coming of age and finding who you are, friendship and modern family life.

There are a lot of books and movies that follow the journey of a wife or child as they discover their husband or father does not live up to the sterling reputation he enjoyed before his demise. This story follows the opposite path. Scarlett’s Dad has been dead for many years and she never really knew him, she just has a few precious but fleeting memories of him. Worse still, everyone “knows” her father was a rather notorious thief. Mum is in a relationship with a new man who just happens to be one of the policemen that had professional dealings with her Dad. The “Step-Dad” comes with children of his own and Scarlett has to get used to sharing not only her room, but her Mum too, with a potential step-sister -“Ellie”. On the day of her eleventh birthday a man turns up on her doorstep and gives her a box of her father’s belongings.  The box and it’s contents are a mystery to her, she has no idea why the box has suddenly turned up now and whether or not her Dad was trying to tell her something. Why has he left her his housebreaking tools, strange bits of paper and other items that make no sense? Scarlett has to solve the mystery, figure out the message from her Dad and stop other people getting hold of the box.  While she does this she comes to realize her Dad was not the man she and the local community thought they knew – he was better. A long the way Scarlett not only learns about who she is, but works out how to get along with Ellie, trust her Mum’s boyfriend and also how she fits into a new blended family situation.

This will be a fantastic read for 9-10+ girls but there’s nothing to stop a few boys enjoying this story too! The story is beautifully paced, funny, sad, a little bit scary and not at all girly. Perfect realistic fiction to ladder girls from a steady diet of JW to other fiction!
Thank you Nosy Crow for publishing yet another hit!
Fleur’s earlier novel for a younger audience, ‘Shrunk’ published by Hot Key Books, is proving a real hit amongst my students, with one boy (normally a very reluctant reader) asking me longingly if there would be a series of it.

Video of Fleur Hitchcock reading from the book:

Read an excerpt of the first chapter HERE: (Courtesy of Nosy Crow Publishers)

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Girl’s best friend by Leslie Margolis

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Girl’s best friend by Leslie Margolis (A Maggie Brooklyn Mystery; 1). Published by Bloomsbury, 2010. Paperback edition rrp. NZ$19.95.

From the Publisher:

Dogs are disappearing in her neighborhood, and Maggie Brooklyn Sinclair knows all about it. After all, she has a semi-secret after-school gig as a professional (ok, amateur) dog-walker. Maggie hates to see a pup in trouble, so she’s even willing to help her ex-best friend Ivy recover her rescue-dog, Kermit. Kermit’s being held for ransom, and Maggie has noticed some suspicious behavior lately. But she never suspected her crush Milo could be involved . ..Leslie Margolis’s pitch-perfect voice and rich characters have endeared her to tweens, and her fans will flock to this hip new series featuring a clever and lovable new heroine, Maggie Brooklyn.

What do I think about this book?

This is a cute story… cute dogs, quirky girl, cool new York life…it is the first of a series (the sequel ‘Vanishing Acts’ was published in 2012). This is a book about a quirky and likeable 12 year old girl living in Brooklyn. Maggie lives in an apartment in an old house with an eccentric and slightly mysterious landlady. This is aimed at the 8+ tween girl and I think it will be a hit with my 8/9+ girl readers. Maggie has the usual friendship issues with girls her own age including a feud with an old friend, plus an unfulfilled wish to have her own dog, a crush on a boy at school and a curious nature. Any girls that have enjoyed Nancy Drew but want an updated version should enjoy this.

Author website: http://www.lesliemargolis.com/maggiebrooklyn/explore.html

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