McGovern, Cammie. Just My Luck
February 23rd 2016 by HarperCollins
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Benny struggles to ride his bike and feels that since he is in fourth grade, he should have this down. He also has trouble making friends at school, and his family life is somewhat difficult, with an older brother who is becoming too "teen" to pay attention to him, and a brother who is autistic. After Benny's father suffers a brain aneurysm, things become even more difficult, and Benny must find a way to keep going in school, make friends, and deal with all of the problems that his family is having.
Strengths: Great cover, and good portrayal of children on the autism spectrum. (In addition to George, Benny's teacher's son is even more affected by the disorder.)
Weaknesses: Great big heaping cup of sadness. Sadness everywhere. Does this happen to kids. Absolutely. Do they want to read about it? Not so much. Very few of my boys want to read about sad things, and my girls who like depressing books tend toward books about child abuse, drug abuse, and eating disorders. Just reporting-- it's not like I encourage them to read about depressing things.
What I really think: Won't be buying. Just don't have the readers.
Meister, Carl. Guinness World Records: Wacky Wheels
2 February 2016, HarperCollins
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central and reviewed there
This 32 page book introduces readers to a variety of customized vehicles. Each picture, from the longest golfcarts and skateboards to heaviest vehicles and lowest rode safe ones, is accompanied by brief information about who built the vehicle and what record it broke, along with the specific statistics.
The brightly colored pictures, combined with clear, simply formatted text, make this a good introduction to the Guinness franchise for very beginning readers. This is a Step 2 book, which is described as a "high-interest story for developing readers". Readers who love vehicles of all kind will spend a lot of time poring over the details of the tallest bike or the smallest caravan while increasing their reading vocabulary.