Hannigan, Kate. Cupcake Cousins
May 13th 2014, Disney-Hyperion
ARC received from the author
Willow and Delia are even more excited than usual that their extended family is renting a house in Michigan, because their Aunt Rose is getting married. They are hoping that they won't have to wear the horrible, floofy pink dresses and be flower girls-- if Aunt Rose can experience their wonderful cooking, maybe she'll have them do the cake instead! The problem with that is that Mr. Henry has Cat cooking for them all, since she lost her restaurant in the South and inherited the house next door. Willow and Delia manage to run afoul of Cat again and again, but work their way back into her good graces every time. They have to put up with their older sisters, three year old Sweet William (who keeps getting into trouble with the family goose), and Delia is also worried about her parents. Her father has lost his job in Detroit, and her parents seem to be fighting a lot... will they get a divorce? As the wedding approaches, it looks like the girls will have to wear their pink dresses, but manage to save the day anyway.
Strengths: This was a very fun read about summer activities that will appeal to many readers. The addition of recipes is always good, and the illustrations are charming. The families are supportive, even with the problems, and the inclusion of multigenerational characters is interesting. The fact that the cousins have different backgrounds but still have the same eyes is very nice. The summer activities make this kind of like The Penderwicks, but without the annoying pretension.
Weaknesses: If an actual child were named Sweet William, I think he should be able to press charges, family obsession with flower names or not.. There were a bit too many small catastrophes throughout the book, which made the one at the end lack some impact.
The cousins depicted look just like my girls and my nieces, which is great for #Weneeddiversebooks!
Marvelous Middle Grade
Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading?
day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday at Anastasia Suen's blog.
Atkinson, Rick. D-Day: The Invasion of Normandy, 1944.
May 6th 2014, Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
E ARC from Netgalley.com
This is a shorter version of the adult book, The Guns at Last Light, but still weighs in at 224 pages. This was a very complete overview of the planning that went into the implementation of D-Day, the events of the invasion itself (including the badly flawed air drops), and the consequences of the operation, from the fatalities to the worldwide implications. Period photos on almost every page illustrate this nicely. Lists of key players, maps, and other appendices make this particularly valuable. Even though it is a long book, the pages use white space well, and it's not too dense. Avid readers of WWII books will make their way through this with ease and will revel in the details. Most interesting fact: total war-related deaths of World War II-- 72 million. How does one even calculate that kind of human loss?