Monday, November 07, 2011

Nonfiction Monday

Nonfiction Monday is hosted by Charlotte at Charlotte's Library this week!

Kulling, Monica. In the Bag! Margaret Knight Wraps it Up!
Copy Received from Tundra Books
This picture book about a woman inventor from the 1800s was a disappointment only because it wasn't longer! Having read about Knight in Thimmesh's Girls Think of Everything, I wanted to know more about the woman who came up with the machine to mass produce paper bags, along with many other inventions. I liked that there was enough background information about conditions at the time (working in factories, having to sue over a patent), that readers will appreciate how hard it was for Knight to be an inventor. I'm not a picture book person, but the illustrations were very nice-- none of the cheesiness that we've been seeing on covers in middle grade fiction. This is the third book in the Great Ideas Series that also includes All Aboard!: Elijah McCoy's Steam Engine and It's a Snap!:George Eastman's First Photo. If I ran an elementary library, I would certainly invest in all of these.

Simon, Coco. Katie and the Cupcake Cure. (Cupcake Diaries #1)
Katie expects that middle school will be rough, but not as rough as her best friend Callie ignoring her and hanging with girls who have formed a Popular Girls Club. Luckily, Katie meets Mia on the bus, and they eat lunch with Emma and Alexis. While middle school is challenging, good friends make it better, especially when they form a Cupcake Club. Every Friday, someone brings in a treat, and they end up making cupcakes for a fundraiser at school, competing against the PGC.
Strengths: This was a fun, quick read that I would have ADORED in middle school. The fund raiser is believably done, and the strained friendship between Katie and Callie rings utterly true. I also liked how mean teachers, homework, and divorced parents present challenges that Katie is able to work through in a satisfactory way.
Weaknesses: Cover verging on cheesy, and I wonder if "Coco Simon" is a real person, since this is a Simon and Schuster title. I do wish I had bought the Emma and Alexis titles, and am looking forward to Katie: Batter Up! as well.

Simon, Coco. Mia in the Mix.
This book focuses on Mia, who has moved out from Manhattan with her divorced mother and has to deal with a new school as well as a new almost step-father and brother. Mia's mother worked for Flair fashion magazine and is now a consultant, so unlike Katie, Mia cares what she wears. This makes is easy for her to talk to the PGC members, but she feels very akward eating lunch with them when she knows how Katie feels about Callie. The girls get several cupcake baking jobs (one for a teacher and one for Mia's mother's fashion show) and have to learn how to budget.
Strengths: Again, the friendship problems are very helpful for middle school girls, and I loved the realistic business dealings.
Weaknesses: I have trouble believing that middle school girls care that much about fashion, but apparently some of them do!


  1. I like the Great Ideas series, but hadn't seen this one yet. Thanks for pointing it out!

  2. Yes, I agree that the first two books you mentioned from this series were excellent. I'll look for this one as well.
    Apples with Many Seeds

  3. I picked up the Cupcake Diaries recently too. I recognized the cover girls as the same girl from Penny Dreadful by Laurel Snyder. (Same cover illustrator and very similar character drawings.)