It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts. Both sites have lots of links to reviews about books that are great for the 4th through 8th grader. It's also Nonfiction Monday, hosted this week at Wrapped in Foil.
Mack, W.C. Athlete Vs. Mathlete
19 February 2013, Bloomsbury USA
ARC From Netgalley.com
and his friends are really annoyed because the new basketball coach is
requiring them to try out for the team even though they were on it last
year. Not only that, but when the coach sees Owen's twin brother,
mathlete Russell, he asks Russell to try out for the team because he's
tall. Unfortunately, Russell is uncoordinated and prefers to spend his
time working on a Masters of the Mind team. When the twins'
father finds out that Russell might finally be interested in a sport, he
gets so excited that he takes Russell to buy athletic gear. Russell
enjoys his father's enthusiasm, and feels uncharacteristically cool in
the gear. He puts in some effort to train for tryouts, and actually
makes the team. Owen isn't thrilled, but Russell has even more problems.
Basketball practice conflicts with his Masters of the Mind ones, and
gives him very little time to do homework. When Russell finds that he
has more basketball abilities than he thought, Owen feels threatened.
His performance on the team is clouded by his anger at his brother, and
the boys no longer get along. Russell backs off from the team a bit, but
is that really the answer?
Strengths: It's official-- I'm
turning into a 12-year-old boy, reading-wise. I had to chose between
this book and one about Emily Dickinson and read this! I really liked it
because I think my students will. Russell and Owen are both successful
in their own circles, but not as successful in other areas. The tension
between the boys is realistic, and neither are overly stereotypical. Not
enough middle grade books touch on time management and exploring other
activities. What I liked best was Russell's struggle with personal
identity. He was perfectly happy with who he was, but would he be even
happier including basketball? This is going to be a series, and I hope
some romance is on the way!
Weaknesses: A little cliche. I
didn't like the new rich kid who tries to buy his way on to the Masters
of the Mind team. Supporting characters lacked a bit of depth. Still,
very excited about this one! Adore the cover. I swear those are Surly
Teen Boy's ankles in the Chuck Taylors!
Whitehead, Erin and Walters, Jennipher. A Girl's Guide to Fitting in Fitness.
26 March 2013, Zest Books
E ARC from Netgalley.com
It's amazing how life much the world has changed since I was a preteen. I can't imagine Seventeen magazine telling me in 1977 that I should eat well and exercise not because it would make me thin and able to attract boys, but by telling me that exercise would make me feel more confident, so I could even ask out that cute senior. This book is very practical and gives lots of good advice about nutrition and various forms of exercise, all leading to the fact that taking care of one's body is about feeling good and strong, not looking good in a bikini. This book is fairly short, with the good book design I have come to expect from Zest, although I could have done with a little more color than just the lavender (but hey, it wasn't pink). The drawings will age well, but there were a few colloquial phrases that would have been better dropped-- a reference to Justin Bieber will be obsolete in ten years. There are some web sites mentioned; hopefully those will stay around for a while. Still, this is a very good and practical book for girls who want to take care of themselves better. Since I grew up thinking (with parental permission) that two chocolate chip cookies for breakfast was fine as long as I didn't gain weight, perhaps I need to read this again more closely!