January 15, 2011

Two great reads for tweens...

I have read two children's books that are worth your time - one is an inspirational tale of never giving up hope and the other is a great ghost story.

The first is Everything on a Waffle. This children's book offers its reader an adorable character, Primrose Squarp, a young girl who never gives up on her parents being alive. While the entire town accepts the fact that Primrose is now an orphan, she simply smiles and awaits her parents' arrival. In the process, she is taken in by several different homes: an old neighbor, an uncle, foster parents. But through it all, hope is always there...and of course her favorite restaurant, The Girl in the Red Swing, where everything is served on a waffle.

This novel is engaging and allows the reader into a world of acceptance. Primrose does not once in the book become bitter, angry, or sad about her predicament. She just goes with the flow and awaits...because she knows that eventually, one day, her parents will return. They did not die at sea, they are just simply lost, looking for a way to return to her. The reader will root for Primrose (and for the return of her parents) as we experience the highs and lows of her experiences.

This Newbery Honor book needs to be added to your "I should read this" list.

If you've read by previous blog, then you are aware that I have adored Candy Apple books. There are currently just a handful of Poison Apple books, but I've bought them because I do enjoy the supernatural. Scholastic's newest venture is successful in my eyes by bringing age-appropriate creepiness to its readers through these books.

My second Poison Apple book, The Dead End, did not disappoint. I love a good ghost story, who doesn't, and Mimi McCoy really delivers in this novel. It offers its readers just enough spooktascular ghost story without being over-whelming or nightmarish.  

In this novel, Casey Slater is planning to have the best summer of her life! That is until her parents decide to have another plans in the guise of a creepy old fixer-upper they have purchased in Stillness, New Hampshire. But don't let the town's name fool you, this house is anything but still.

While Casey is pouting about her parents decision to ruin her summer, she is unaware that she is about to embark on a ghost mystery. After all, from day one in the new summer house, creepy things happen. There is tapping, shouting, calls for help, unexplained accidents...and only Casey seems to be aware. Can Casey unravel the mystery before she too becomes a victim of this house on Drury Road?

The tight plot and likable characters make this a page-turner. It reminds me a bit of Nancy Drew, but more modernized with a higher creep factor. But do not let that creep factor fool you - it is definitely age-appropriate for the tween audience.

McCoy first charmed me with her Candy Apple novels The Accidental Cheerleader, The Babysitting Wars, and Star-Crossed. It is apparent with her latest novel that she has a talent for writing for the tweens...a talent that appeals to those of us who just enjoy great story telling.

If you too like a great ghost story, but don't necessarily enjoy being scared to death, you need to add The Dead End to your reading list.

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