Callaghan, Cindy. Lost in Paris
March 17th 2015 by Aladdin
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Gwen gets to go to Paris because her three older brothers are playing in sports tournaments. She's looking forward to spending quality girl time with her mom, but once they get to the City of Lights, they find out that her mom has to accompany her brothers. That's okay, because old friend Brigitte meets up with Gwen and offers to take her on her rounds with the pet business she runs. With the help of Henri, who is Gwen's age but works for the hotel where she is staying, the three get involved with a contest to win free tickets to a sold out Shock Wave contest, since it's Gwen's favorite band. One of the band members, Clay, went missing years ago, but Gwen thinks she knows where he can be found. The group gets to see the sights of Paris, deals with a variety of pets, and tries to do their best to win the tickets.
Strengths: I'm glad to see Aladdin come out with hardcover copies of some of their popular M!X type titles. Travel stories always do well, and the little bit of romance with Henri is a nice touch. There is a sequel in the offing, Lost in Rome, so that can only be good.
Weaknesses: This was somehow weak. The details of Paris were okay, but the quest and the mystery were pretty predictable. I was hoping for a stronger book, like Jen Malone's At Your Service. The inclusion of Gwen's "song lyrics" was just painful! Still, definitely purchasing.
Hiranandani, Veera. A Passport to Pastries
February 5th 2015 by Grosset & Dunlap
Phoebe has been invited, with her family, to go to Paris to celebrate her friend Camille's birthday. She's very excited, because she is looking forward to all of the good food, and wants to see the Eiffel Tower. Things don't always go her way on the trip, but she does get to visit a pastry shop and drink hot chocolate out of bowls, and generally has a good time, even though her enthusiasm sometimes gets the better of her.
Strengths: I've never really wanted to go to France, but this book almost wants me to! I love that Phoebe's family and friends are supportive of her. These are sort of like Junie B. Jones, with food.
Weaknesses: I get a little tired of Phoebe explaining that she is a foodie. We know. That's the whole point of the book. We don't need to keep reading it!
What I really think: I am starting to worry that my students won't read these, no matter how cute they are, so I will probably not order any more. (Have a few girls working on them-- waiting to see what they think.) Fabulous for beginning readers and elementary students, though!