Sunday, September 13, 2015

MMGM- The Friendship Garden

It's 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.

24885720Meyerhoff, Jenny. The Friendship Garden.
August 25th 2015 by Aladdin
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Anna's family has moved from suburban New York to the city of Chicago. Her mother is a very busy chef in a restaurant, and her father is adjusting to being an at-home dad. Anna is worried about making friends, but when she is assigned to write a persuasive speech with Kaya and Reed, she finally has people to see after school. Kaya's abuela gardens in a community plot, and the children enjoy working there, too. When they realize that one of the plots has been abandoned and is overgrown, they decide that creating a gardening group would be a good subject for a speech. They run into problems when the garden manager doesn't want to let a group of unsupervised children have their own plot, so the children try to clean up the plot with the help of classmates, their teacher, and parents.
Strengths: This had a lot of really positive points. Strong family connections, including the mother Skyping the family at dinner when she has to work late, and the father adjusting to being at home. Mr. Hoffman was a positive example of a teacher, and even the gardening community told the children about the rules and why they had to adhere to them in a a constructive fashion.
Weaknesses: Is third grade the new sweet spot for fiction? I've been loving some of the titles that are more appropriate for this age. This one, with its themes of friendship, moving, and gardening, would work for struggling middle school readers as well.
What I really think: Depending on what the reading levels of our new students are, I may buy this.

24885719Oh, heck. I'm weak. How adorable is the cover of the second book?


Meyerhoff, Jenny. Pumpkin Spice (The Friendship Garden #2)
August 25th 2015 by Aladdin

Haven't been doing a lot of reading-- the beginning of school is always very busy, especially with cross country. Also working on picking Cybils panelists for Middle Grade Fiction and putting together questions for my horror panelists.  Oddly, cooking, cleaning, laundry and grocery shopping don't seem to end when one is busy. Also have random things like figuring out how my mother managed to lose a sheet set and a half!

Somehow, sleep sounds much more intriguing than reading some days!


Lisa M said...

I have not seen this series, looks like it'd be perfect for third graders.

Rosi said...

I agree about the second cover. I am a sucker for anything autumn and pumpkin. Thanks for the review.

Tara Smith said...

Adorable, indeed!

Greg Pattridge said...

There is a place in many third grade classrooms for books of this type. Love the idea for this series. Thanks for sharing.

janet smart said...

I haven't seen these books, either. And, I also love the second cover. I'm ready for autumn!

Katie Fitzgerald said...

I hadn't seen the cover of the second one before you posted it, but I love it!

Cheriee Weichel said...

Thanks for your review. Finding quality books for this age/reading level is a challenge so it is always good to find more of them. I love the cover too!

Ricki Ginsberg at Unleashing Readers said...

When Ms. Yingling says "MUST BUY," we MUST BUY! I am glad to hear you loved this series. I look forward to getting it!

thechroniclesofachildrensbookwriter said...

A strong recommendation! Early MG's seem to be coming out with great series. I'll have to check this one and Piper Green.

Jane W said...

I've just started working with school-aged kids after focusing more on toddlers and preschoolers, so I'm always looking for recommendations for this age group!

Myra Garces Bacsal said...

I love middle grade novels that look like these. :)

Crystal Brunelle said...

Looks like a great series. Thanks!

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