Middler Books and More

This blog contains Bruce DuBoff's book reviews, info on other media, and related topics. It is a collaboration between the librarian and both the students of Pennsauken Intermediate School and Phifer Middle School in Pennsauken, NJ, and the general middler book reading community. The books featured here are appropriate for grades 5-8, though not all books reviewed here are appropriate for all of those ages.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

When I started reviewing books for this column I sent most of the major publishers a letter asking for advance review copies of new YA novels. Most companies ignored me, but Scholastic put me on their list. I try not to review their books more often than anyone else’s and I certainly never allow their generosity to influence my opinion. However, I must thank Scholastic, because had I not been receiving its advance copies I would not know about many of their very accessible and readable series they publish for the 8-12 tweener crowd. Targeted mostly for girls, these series have a middle class, suburban feel and they tell simple, fun stories. Lacking the edginess of the Bluford or Hazelwood High series, Scholastic’s offerings are more Disney than Twilight, and they have a broad appeal, especially for the surprisingly healthy number of patrons not interested in or not allowed to read books containing violence, cursing, and mature situations. I recently read two new series and liked them both. One of the series, B Magical, was released in 2009 as Spelling B but I confess that I missed it the first time around.

Connor, Lexi. B Magical: The Missing Magic. Scholastic, 2011, originally published 2009. 130 pages. ISBN 13: 978-0-545-11736-4. This book is for grades 4 to 6, or ages 8 to 12, depending on reading level.

When Beatrix (friends call her B) turned eleven, she expected to get her magic like everyone else in her family of witches. B expected to be able to make up a rhyming couplet to cast a spell like her parents and her big sister Dawn, but B is at a loss as to why she has been singled out for shame and weakness. When B wanders into Dawn’s room and finds her in a make-up and fashion session with her witch friends, she is asked by the friends to display some of her “newbie magic,” but B is terrified because she may have to reveal that she doesn’t have any magic, newbie or otherwise: “B panicked. She opened her mouth to say she couldn’t, then clamped it shut again. There had to be a way out of this mess!” (37). When Mr. Bishop, B’s new replacement English teacher, proposes a spelling bee and offers tickets to the hottest concert in town for the winner, B is determined to be the best speller in school, even if it means overcoming her terrible fear of speaking in public. However, ironically, being the best speller may spell out disaster for B and the contest when the tickets go missing, the expected culprit may actually be innocent, and all signs point to disaster for B unless she can solve the mystery.

Daly, Catherine R. Petal Pushers. Scholastic, 2011. ISBN 13: 978-0-545-21450-6. This book is for grades 4 to 6, or ages 8 to 12, depending on reading level.

Life is about to turn upside down for Del (short for Delphinium) Bloom and her family. Del’s grandparents own the only flower shop in their small New Hampshire town but they have decided to retire in Florida. Del has worked at Flowers on Fairfield for a while and is both organized and responsible. But her creative mother, with help from English professor Dad, has decided to run the store on a trial basis much to Del’s chagrin. Del is not convinced that her parents can make this work, and she starts to sound like her old, curmudgeonly Aunt Lily as she fears that the store will be lost: “Yeah, I thought to myself rather meanly, things will be much better with both Mr. and Mrs. Disorganized in charge . . . I didn’t like the way things were going. Not one bit” (51). Del begins to worry even more when she finds out Fleur, a fancy new 21st-Century flower shop, opens in town. Things reach a fever pitch when Del discovers that her arch-rival, the mean Ashley Edwards, is a member of the biggest wedding party of the year, and that party may be leaning towards using the brand new mall flower shop. Complicating matters even more is Hamilton, a new boy at school who may be Del’s first legitimate crush but may also be whisked away by the vicious Ashley. Del must not only work hard to save the sale and the shop, she must also learn to be more flexible in her thinking if she wants to save her relationships with her family, friends, and potential crushes.

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Blogger Marianne Kearns said...

We aren't doing a very good job -IF- we git to our Final Judgement and Jesus sez, "Hey, you, dudes, howcome you didn't promote MY Word??" HintHint, PokePoke Lemme fill-you-up withe epiphany, the avant-gardeness and wisdom necessary to achieve Seventh-Heaven, dear...

If 'freedom lies in being bold' (Robert Frost), doesn't pushing-the-envelope result in the Elysian Fields? If I'm the sower, we plant the Seed; if I'm an artist, we RITE the symphonies heard Upstairs ☆IF☆ you accept His lead withe orchestra...

Wanna find-out the fax, Jak, in a wurld fulla the 'power of cowards'? Wanna wiseabove to help a 'Plethora Of Wurdz' [POW!] which are look'n for a new home in thy novelty?? Yay!

Q: But [gulp] can anyone tell me the difference between K2/IQ? A: Nthn. In Heaven, we gitt'm both for eternity HA! Need a few more thots, ideers, wild wurdz (whoa, Nelly! easy, girl!) or ironclad iconoclasms?

VERBUM SAT SAPIENTI (Latin: words to [the] wise): As an ex-writer of the sassy, savvy, schizophenia we all go thro in this lifelong demise, I just wanna help U.S. git past the ping-pong-politixx, the whorizontal more!ass! we're in...

"This finite existence is only a test, son," God Almighty told me in my coma. "Far beyond thy earthly tempest is where you'll find tangible, corpulent eloquence". Lemme tella youse without d'New Joisey accent...

I actually saw Seventh-Heaven when we died: you couldn't GET!! any moe curly, party-hardy-endorphins, low-hanging-fruit of the Celestial Paradise, extravagantly-surplus-lush Upstairs (awww! baby kitties, too!!) when my o-so-beautifull, brilliant, bombastic girly passed-away due to those wry, sardonic satires...

"Those who are wise will shine as brightly as the expanse of the Heavens, and those who have instructed many in uprightousness as bright as stars for all eternity" -Daniel 12:3, NJB

Here's also what the prolific, exquisite GODy sed: 'the more you shall honor Me, the more I shall bless you' -the Infant Jesus of Prague.

Go gitt'm, girly. You're incredible. You're indelible. Cya Upstairs. I won't be joining'm in the nasty Abyss where Isis prowls
thesuperseedoftime.blogspot.com
infowars.com
-YOUTHwitheTRUTH:
Revelation 14:13
-------------------------------
PS Need summore unique, uncivilized, useless names?? Lemme gonna gitcha started, brudda:

Oak Woods, Franky Sparks, Athena Noble, Autumn Rose, Faith Bishop, Dolly Martin, Willow Rhodes, Cocoa Major, Roman Stone, Bullwark Burnhart, Magnus Wilde, Kardiak Arrest, Will Wright, Goldy Silvers, Penelope Summers, Sophie Sharp, Violet Snow, Lizzy Roach, BoxxaRoxx, Aunty Dotey, Romero Stark, Zacharia Neptoon, Mercurio Morrissey, Fritz & Felix Franz, Victor Payne, Isabella Silverstein, Mercedes Kennedy, Redd Rust, Phoenix Martini, Ivy Squire, Sauer Wolfe, Yankee Cooky, blessed b9...

God blessa youse
(trustNjesus)
-Fr. Sarducci, ol SNL

4:29 PM  
Blogger Marianne Kearns said...

We aren't doing a very good job -IF- we git to our Final Judgement and Jesus sez, "Hey, you, dudes, howcome you didn't promote MY Word??" HintHint, PokePoke Lemme fill-you-up withe epiphany, the avant-gardeness and wisdom necessary to achieve Seventh-Heaven, dear...

If 'freedom lies in being bold' (Robert Frost), doesn't pushing-the-envelope result in the Elysian Fields? If I'm the sower, we plant the Seed; if I'm an artist, we RITE the symphonies heard Upstairs ☆IF☆ you accept His lead withe orchestra...

Wanna find-out the fax, Jak, in a wurld fulla the 'power of cowards'? Wanna wiseabove to help a 'Plethora Of Wurdz' [POW!] which are look'n for a new home in thy novelty?? Yay!

Q: But [gulp] can anyone tell me the difference between K2/IQ? A: Nthn. In Heaven, we gitt'm both for eternity HA! Need a few more thots, ideers, wild wurdz (whoa, Nelly! easy, girl!) or ironclad iconoclasms?

VERBUM SAT SAPIENTI (Latin: words to [the] wise): As an ex-writer of the sassy, savvy, schizophenia we all go thro in this lifelong demise, I just wanna help U.S. git past the ping-pong-politixx, the whorizontal more!ass! we're in...

"This finite existence is only a test, son," God Almighty told me in my coma. "Far beyond thy earthly tempest is where you'll find tangible, corpulent eloquence". Lemme tella youse without d'New Joisey accent...

I actually saw Seventh-Heaven when we died: you couldn't GET!! any moe curly, party-hardy-endorphins, low-hanging-fruit of the Celestial Paradise, extravagantly-surplus-lush Upstairs (awww! baby kitties, too!!) when my o-so-beautifull, brilliant, bombastic girly passed-away due to those wry, sardonic satires...

"Those who are wise will shine as brightly as the expanse of the Heavens, and those who have instructed many in uprightousness as bright as stars for all eternity" -Daniel 12:3, NJB

Here's also what the prolific, exquisite GODy sed: 'the more you shall honor Me, the more I shall bless you' -the Infant Jesus of Prague.

Go gitt'm, girly. You're incredible. You're indelible. Cya Upstairs. I won't be joining'm in the nasty Abyss where Isis prowls
thesuperseedoftime.blogspot.com
infowars.com
-YOUTHwitheTRUTH:
Revelation 14:13
-------------------------------
PS Need summore unique, uncivilized, useless names?? Lemme gonna gitcha started, brudda:

Oak Woods, Franky Sparks, Athena Noble, Autumn Rose, Faith Bishop, Dolly Martin, Willow Rhodes, Cocoa Major, Roman Stone, Bullwark Burnhart, Magnus Wilde, Kardiak Arrest, Will Wright, Goldy Silvers, Penelope Summers, Sophie Sharp, Violet Snow, Lizzy Roach, BoxxaRoxx, Aunty Dotey, Romero Stark, Zacharia Neptoon, Mercurio Morrissey, Fritz & Felix Franz, Victor Payne, Isabella Silverstein, Mercedes Kennedy, Redd Rust, Phoenix Martini, Ivy Squire, Sauer Wolfe, Yankee Cooky, blessed b9...

God blessa youse
(trustNjesus)
-Fr. Sarducci, ol SNL

4:32 PM  

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