Sunday, March 04, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was started by Shannon Whitney Messenger over at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe. Head on over there TODAY to see a list of Middle Grade Reviews by a variety of awesome bloggers .

Jill at The O.W.L has a March of Middle Grade Books going on ALL MONTH!

O’Connor, Barbara. The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester.Owen doesn’t like living with his ill grandfather, his pushy housekeeper, and his out-of-work father in rural Georgia, but there are some advantages. There’s lots to do outside, and he has finally captured an enormous frog, whom he has named Tooley. He and his friend Travis, along with bossy neighbor Viola, build a large cage for Tooley, but the frog still does not look happy. Another summer project is locating a box that fell off a train, which turns out to contain a miniature submarine! It’s not easy to get the sub to the pond, but with Viola and Travis’ help, the children manage to get it there, read the instructions, and take it for a spin around the pond before being discovered. Owen realizes that Viola is right, and his frog would be happier in the wild, and that perhaps catching him accomplished what Owen really needed.

Strengths: This reminded me of things like Homer Price and Henry Reed-- a group of well-meaning kids getting into a little bit of trouble while having adventures. Fast-paced and written in an engaging way, this was a pleasantly quick read.
Weaknesses: A bit too young for my students. Hard to explain, but Owen concerns were really close to home, and middle school concerns encompass a little more.

This begs to be displayed with Silberberg's Pond Scum and Barry's Science Fair, doesn't it?


  1. I hadn't heard of this. Thanks for sharing about it.

  2. Ms. Yingling,
    Angie, Hey there! Surprise ... I nominated you for an award. Come on over to to check it out. There are some crazy rules for accepting it. And quite honestly, you won't hurt my feelings at all if you choose not to follow through by naming five other bloggers. I just thought that I would take this opportunity to showcase some fellow librarian bloggers. Happy Sunday!

  3. Anonymous2:59 PM EST

    This is one I should get and read, I think. Yes on the display options. And, I really need to go read Homer Price again....I loved that book when I was a kid. Loved. it.

  4. Thank you for the recommendation. I love O'Connor's style. This is a great read for writers trying to hone their craft, particularly pacing and character development.