Urban, Linda. Weekends with Max and His Dad
April 5th 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Max goes to visit his father's new apartment for the first time, and the two start establishing a routine. They go to a restaurant where the owner plays a song on the ukulele if someone orders the pineapple pancakes. They pretend to be spies, meet some of their neighbors, add homey touches like a couch to the apartment, and enjoy spending time together. Slowly, the two put together post-divorce life.
Strengths: This is a great book for describing what it is like to have divorced parents, and how it is possible to put together another life. I like that Max's dad tries really hard to make things homey, and is generally up beat, although there is a great chapter where he is glum because he would like to attend an open mike night but can't because Max is there, and Max sets up a night in their apartment and invites neighbors. I normally am not a fan of Urban's work, since she tends to write deeply introspective and sad books, but this was quite nice.
Weaknesses: It would have seemed more realistic to me if the mother was shown a bit more.
What I really think: This is too young for middle school, but definitely a must purchase for elementary school libraries.
Lowery, Mike. Doodle Adventures: The Search for the Slimy Space Slugs!
May 17th 2016 by Workman Publishing Company
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Carl the Duck enlists YOU (the reader) to help him find a precious artifact that was stolen, and gets embroiled in an altercation with the eponymous Space Slug.
I didn't quite realize that this book instructs children to draw in it in order to complete the story. This makes it a poor choice for a school or public library, although it would be quite fun for a present for a 2nd or 3rd grader who likes to draw.
The art is fun, and the story is silly. It's a great notebook novel, but not goin gto work for my collection.