Kimmel, Elizabeth Cody. Staying in Tune (Forever Four #4)
7 February 2013, Grossett and Dunlap
Paulina is still working on the 4 Girls magazine, but there are problems. Miko, who usually does the cover art, is under pressure from her father to get into a prestigious music camp, so she doesn't have much time to give to the magazine. Tally is so scattered brained that she shows up at the Mexican restaurant in the mall when she asks the girls to meet her for egg rolls. Thankfully, Ivy is still around to help with the magazine as well as for moral support when Paulina's crush, Benny, doesn't call her at all over Christmas break. Miko asks the new art teacher to be their faculty advisor, which ends up working out better than everyone expected. Another issue of the magazine is successfully completed, and the girls are ready for more adventures.
Strengths: Kimmel does perfect middle grade series. The characters are always active and interesting, there's a little bit of romance thrown in, and the writing is deft. My avid readers will go through one of these books a day!.
Weaknesses: Tally seemed a bit over the top, as did the mean girl, but since the other characters are well developed, I didn't mind.
Hopkinson, Deborah. Knit Your Bit: A World War I Story
February 21st 2013 by Putnam Juvenile
I have found a good use for picture books-- they offer a good transition for my study hall students between lunch and settling down for study hall! I'm not usually a fan of picture books, but this one was great fun. It offered an interesting look at an odd historical event that students probably know nothing about, and had really fun, Lois Lenski style illustrations, which suited this time period quite well. I thought about pairing this with a book of knitting instruction, but it's hard to get students interested in those. I thought about having students try to knit in study hall, but they probably wouldn't be allowed to have knitting needles!
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 Booktalking.