Monday, July 10, 2017

MMGM- The Wild Bunch

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and #IMWAYR day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday.

32333263Gansei, Jan. The Wild Bunch
July 11th 2017 by Aladdin
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Paul is not happy that his father is dragging him into the woods on a camping trip right after summer vacation starts, especially since his father's two friends from college and their sons are coming. Hector and Jack aren't horrible, but they just aren't the sort of people Paul usually hangs out with. Jack's father is detained, but the guys head out into the woods. There are mini disasters right and left-- they hit a deer, set a tent on fire, and have more Spam to eat than Paul would like. Not only that, but there is a wild Beast on the loose, and the major attraction of the trip, Bear Falls, is off limits. Eventually, the boys get tired of listening to the dads sing and talk about fishing, and head off to find the falls on their own. Luckily, Hector is very prepared and has studied up on the wilderness, because Jack is a bit of a blusterer and frequently gets into trouble along the trail by not thinking. Good things to know-- stinging nettle leaves make horrible toilet paper, and you shouldn't put anything in your mouth unless you know what it is!

The characters in this were especially great. The fathers were a tiny bit annoying and a little goofy, there was a mother who ironed everything (do those even exist still, though?), and the park ranger was informative but a bit scary. While Jack and Hector were a bit stereotypical (bully and nerd), Jack was a great tween Everyboy. He's a little concerned about some things, but ready for an adventure. He's afraid of snakes, but resourceful. He's a great canvas for tween boys to project their own personalities onto.

This was a funny book. There were some situations that were inherently funny, but the thing that I liked best was the random humor. There are laugh-out-loud lines, and sunny things that happen, like Paul using the page on snakes in the guidebook when, um, nature calls, folding it up and stowing it in his back pack because he doesn't want to litter, and then getting bitten by a snake and having to use that page for reference! Perfectly gross! One of the dad's makes a "protein shake" with raw eggs, wheat grass, dandelion puree and the secret ingredients of ground anchovies! Jack talks in his sleep about asparagus and fluffy bunnies. I bookmarked a dozen pages because they made me guffaw. That's the sort of writing that keeps readers interested.

I am so happy that Aladdin is putting out a MAX series similar to its M!X series for girls. I am looking forward to these humorous, STAND ALONE titles!

32671970Comics Squad #3: Detention! (Comics Squad #3) by Jennifer L. Holm Matthew Holm, Jarrett J Krosoczka, Victoria Jamieson, Ben Hatke, et al.
July 4th 2017 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Copy provided by the publisher.

Like Comics Squad- Lunchand Comics Squad- Recess!, this book showcases the illustrative talents of some of today's favorite graphic artists for children. We do have some old favorites, like Squish and the Lunch Ladies, but there are some fun new entries from George O'Connor, who does a fun take on Sisyphus in detention, in keeping with his books about the Olympian gods, and a story by Jorge and Raf that makes me wonder why they haven't done an older middle grade graphic novel similar to Drama or Roller Girl. Victoria Jamieson has a story that showcases the complicated emotionals and behavioral issues of middle school, and Lark Pien and Matt Phelan have interesting fantasy excursions; after all, how does one survive serving a detention with some imagination?

This is a great book to hand to students about to enter middle school about two weeks before school is to start. Have to get them warmed up and prepared, right?

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2018 by National Geographic Kids
May 9th 2017 by National Geographic Children's Books
Copy provided by the publisher

Want the best bang for your buck when it comes to children's book. Purchase a copy of the newest almanac for $14.99, and it will keep your children reading all summer. Great for car trips, as long as you don't have children prone to motion sickness, because it has lots of conversational springboards. Good for bedtime reading, sitting on the porch with a glass of lemonade, and for sharing with friends on a rainy day.

Do not confuse this with an almanac for adults, which used to be a quickly dated print book filled with statistics, maps, and charts that now are much more current on the internet. This is 337 densely packed pages of random facts, games, and interesting tidbits accompanied by full color pictures and bright illustrations. This is a much better investment than a Guinness Book of World Records (they retail new for ridiculous sums, considering how quickly the binding separates from the pages), since it is easier to carry around and doesn't fall apart.

Not my favorite thing, but my brother (who was a complete nonreader) loved this sort of thing, and my own personal children spent endless hours with these even though they did love to read!


  1. Great picks. Comics Squad includes some of my favorite creators. Thanks.

  2. The Wild Bunch sounds great. Adventure and humor is a good combination for my middle grade readers. Definitely going to check this one out.

  3. Thanks for the intriguing recommendations the past two days. I'm especially looking forward to THE WILD BUNCH and Lisa Graff's newest.

  4. Wow! Greet picks, especially the NG Kids Almanac. I still iron occasionally. My mom taught me that while a preteen and it served me well during the 80's and 90's before there were all these "wrinkle-free" fabrics in clothing.

  5. I could use a humorous read right now. The Wild Bunch adventure sounds like fun! Great review. Will check it out. I like to find really good books for boys. The National Graphic 2018 Almanac is a sure winner for traveling in the car.

  6. My mother (and father) still iron everything, while I must confess that I don't even own an iron... ;-)

    We have that NG Almanac in the library, and I definitely agree, it's been read pretty much nonstop since we got it! That cover image definitely helps - talk about eye-catching!

  7. The Wild Bunch Looks like a fun read. Can't get enough humour in books for kids.

  8. Three fun reads for this Monday. The Wild Bunch sounds like it will fly off the shelves. Thanks for telling me about these three books.