Monday, October 24, 2016

MMGM- Cinnamon Moon/Epic Big Nate

Peirce, Lincoln. Epic Big Nate
October 25th 2016 by Andrews McMeel 
ARC provided by the publisher

Big Nate's 25th anniversary is brilliantly celebrated with this enormous compendium of strips. Not every strip is included, but the overview is complete enough that we can see Nate's evolution over time. The best part is the commentary on selected strips, as well as the introduction to both Peirce and Nate. I had no idea that the strip had been around so long, since I was first introduced to the character in Big Nate: In a Class By Himself (2010). 

This is a must-have collection for Big Nate fans, no matter how long they have followed the strip. Adult fans especially will enjoy the annotations which deliver some insight into Nate's motivation, as well as explanations of some of the side characters. 

Be forewarned, however, that the slip-cased, 472 page book weighs in at almost 6 pounds and has a list price of $50! I'm not sure, both because of the cost and the size, if I will purchase this for my library. When a 6th grader leaves the book in his math class and someone else picks it up and never returns it, I don't want to have to try to get $50 from the student to replace it!

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.

Let me make one thing VERY clear: I adore historical fiction. Growing up, I read Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables, Childhood of Famous Americans (which, really, were pretty much fictionalized biographies) and had a serious addiction to Louisa May Alcott. Even now, I get ridiculously excited by historical fiction that covers a period of time I don't know a lot about. I love historical fiction.

My students do NOT.

There are a few. And oddly, most of the readers of historical fiction in my library are my more academically inclined students. Last year, I even had a girl who willingly read Anne! Most of my students, however, engage in serious nose wrinkling when offered such books. And offer them I do. I make displays, recommend them, and try to sneak them in. My students still aren't fans. I'm beginning to think that the problem is the TYPE of historical fiction that is published. Things like Wolf Hollow or Moon Over Manifest are slower, more introspective, and on the longer side. If there were more historical fiction like Cinnamon Moon, I think it would have more readers. 

Cinnamon MoonHilmo, Tess. Cinnamon Moon
October 18th 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline.

Ailis and her brother Quinn have moved to Chicago from the small town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin after a fire killed their parents and young sister. They are being raised in a boarding house by a negative, controlled woman, Miss Franny. Since Chicago is also recuperating from the Great Fire of 1871, Ailis is glad that she and her brother, along with another orphan, Nettie, have food to eat and a place to sleep, but hopes for more. She takes a job with a German woman, Ida, in a millinery shop, and Quinn starts busking with his violin, making a lot more money that he thought possible. When Nettie goes missing, the two try to investigate, and uncover a plot to use very young children to help keep down the rat population. They find Nettie, who is too afraid to go back with them. Eventually, the two manage to tell an investigative reported about the scheme, and are able to find Nettie.
Strengths: Modern readers will be drawn to the difficult circumstances under which Ailis and Quinn live, but will also secretly long for their freedom from parents. They may be a bit surprised at the prejudice against the Irish. This was just a very fun, very readable book, and happier than you would think. Ailis is very "plucky".
Weaknesses: Should have started with the fire. A bit slow at the beginning, and that would have helped. The cover and title are not fantastic.
What I really think: Great story, great length, and worth hand selling to students, who will enjoy the story once they get into it. This might also be a great gateway to historical fiction!


  1. Our children's librarian is a looking for books to share with children that might lead into historical fiction. Cinnamon Moon sounds like a great fit.

  2. I'm always on the lookout for good historical fiction. Thanks for sharing this one. I hope it finds a wide audience.

  3. My 12 year old son loves Big Nate. It is a funny series!

  4. Big Nate is 25?!?! How is that even possible?!? Time flies when you're having fun, I guess! I absolutely hear you when it comes to buying this for the library many of our books have a short life span due to every day life, so a $50 book definitely makes me a bit nervous...

  5. I'm also a historical fiction fan. Cinnamon Moon sounds really intriguing. It's interesting that it's the academically inclined students who like historical fiction. It isn't my sons' first choice, but they do enjoy it if it's about a scientist or inventor (not super sad or depressing).

  6. Oohlala. Look at that epic big nate. My daughter was crazy about this series when she was younger.