Wednesday, August 03, 2016
Undercover (Emma is on the Air)
Siegal, Ida. Undercover (Emma is on the Air #4)
May 10th 2016 by Scholastic Paperbacks
Copy Provided by Young Adult Books Central
Emma is back, and this time she finds a copy of Bridge to Terebithia in her school library that has a note with clues in it. The book is not from the school library, but from a nearby branch of the local library, and was last checked out in 2000! With the help of her friend Melissa, who volunteers at the library, Emma manages to get into the tower that the note mentions, and manages to find the answer to the mystery.
While Melissa and Emma aren't always on the best terms, they learn to get along, and Emma's other friends, Javier and Aidan, also help her out in a constructive fashion, even though they can be a little annoying, with their insistence on doing karate kicks. I loved that the school class was working on a project in the library!
Emma is very interested in being a news reporter like her Papi, and when a woman from the local historical society does a presentation for her class on Nellie Bly, Emma is even more motivated to embrace investigative journalism. While this isn't the best career choice in real life for most young people, the author, herself a television journalist, can be applauded for trying to give children a window into career possibilities.
Elementary aged readers who have followed the exploits of Friedman's Mallory, McDonald's Judy Moody, Cleary's Ramon Quimby or Danziger's Amber Brown will be glad to have a new friend in the spunky and dedicated Emma Perez.
That said, I'm still not a huge fan of this series. Emma is self-absorbed and rather unpleasant.
Cassidy, Sara. A Boy Named Queen
August 1st 2016 by Groundwood Books
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Evelyn's mother is very strict, and Evelyn's life is very ordered-- they go, for example, to the shoe store once a year to get back to school shoes, and when they find that their old stand by store has been replaced by a budget show store, they are both a bit alarmed. Evelyn heads off for fifth grade, and her class is a bit taken aback by a new student, who insists that his name is Queen. He's different from anyone Evelyn has ever met, and the kids at school give him a hard time, but he doesn't care. Evelyn is the only student he invites to his birthday party, and she has a great time and learns not only about Queen, but also how to take risks in her own life.
Strengths: This was a solid book for elementary school students on accepting the differences in others. It wasn't so much a book about a transgender student, although the use of the word "queen" would indicate that; it felt more like a book about a student with an unconventional upbringing.
Weaknesses: This ended VERY abruptly. I seriously thought I had somehow not downloaded half the book. There is another 80 pages that needs to be written to finish up this story. I don't think I've ever read a book that I felt was so unfinished.
What I really think: If this had felt finished, I would have bought it.