Wissinger, Tamera Will. Gone Camping: A Novel in Verse
March 28th 2017 by HMH Books for Young Readers
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Lucy and Sam are all ready to go camping, but when their dad wakes up with a bad cold and their mom thinks she should stay home with him, their grandfather is enlisted to take them. They have lots of fun doing the sorts of things that one does while camping. The poems tell the story, and the type of each poem is listed at the top, as well as explained in the back, which is a nice touch. The illustrations are fun in a Quentin Blake kind of way. If the poems were longer, I would buy this, but the poetry projects that get assigned at my school usually require poems of at least 40 words. The story was a little young for middle school as well. Enjoyed, but don't think this would circulate well in my library.
Bowe, Julie. Big and Little Questions (According to Wren Jo Byrd)
March 21st 2017 by Kathy Dawson Books
Copy provided by the publisher
Wren has had to spend the summer with her grandparents because her parents are divorcing, and she is too scared to tell her best friend Amber why she had to be gone, so didn't even explain why she had to miss Amber's birthday party. In Wren's absence, Amber has become good friends with the new girl, Marianna. Marianna lives in a big house and is very stylish and snobby-- she calls Wren "Tweety" in a mean way that she claims is joking. The school year is difficult for Wren, who tries to hide the fact that her parents are living separately, even though she has to take the bus to her father's after school. Other things are changing, too-- at recess, the girls no longer want to pretend to be horses, but talk about boys and lip gloss. Wren slowly comes to accept her parents situation, her mother and father go on with their lives, and Wren starts to understand that things are not perfect for Marianna, either.
Strengths: This was a great way to present some serious elementary issues-- Wren's emotions are given the attention they deserve, but her life isn't overly sad. She hides things that are bothering her, and is able to get help when she finally seeks it. This seems like a pitch perfect way to describe one girl's reaction to her parents' divorce and the even more traumatic loss of her best friend to a girl who is mean to her. Really enjoyed this one.
Weaknesses: Not thinking of any. Even Wren's mom's insistence that Marianna walk with Wren to the library one day a week is something that is completely realistic. I guess I would have preferred if Wren had been a 7th grader, because I do deal with students of this age who are experiencing divorce and friend drama.
What I really think: This is perfect for elementary school, but the emotions surrounding this issue are slightly different in middle school. A definite purchase for elementary libraries, and some middle school libraries.