Monday, February 23, 2015

MMGM- Colonial Madness

Whittemore, Jo. Colonial Madness.
10th 2015 by Aladdin
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Tori and her mother Jill are having a difficult time keeping a bridal shop open in their small town, so when they are notified that they may be given money from a cranky old aunt who has passed away, they are more than happy to compete in the challenge the aunt has issued the family-- live on her estate the way that people lived in Colonial times, successfully survive, and get a lot of money. Tori's cousins Angel (whom she likes) and Dylan (whom she doesn't) are also there, as well as some other relatives whom she doesn't know well. Tori's mother is fairly flighty, and tries to keep chickens and a cow in their bedroom. She is also unreliable when it comes to the challenges, but Tori is determined to make it despite the difficulties. It doesn't hurt that the son of the couple who are in charge of the estate, Caleb, is cute and seems to like her. There are some of the contestants who try to cheat, some more successfully than others, but the competition is amusing, and all of the participants seem to take everything in stride with good grace. Who will win? Read this delightful book to find out!
Strengths: Even though we have the obligatory dead parent (Tori's father), there isn't the air of overwhelming sadness to this book that so many others have. Yes, Tori's mother is a goofball, but the two are genuinely fond of each other, and have a good time together. The "romance" between Tori and Caleb is a nice touch, and this is generally a fun, light read. Thank goodness! I love the cover, and think this would be the perfect book to hand to boys for Guys Read Pink Month. I was so intrigued by the cover and promise of a happier story that I read this in early December, not wanting to wait!
Weaknesses: The one bit of intrigue/evildoing seemed wrong and forced to me, and there is the problem of the long distance relationship between Tori and Caleb after the challenge is over, but these are minor quibbles considering how much I enjoyed the book. A perfect companion for  Bell's Little Blog on the Prairie!

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. Nonfiction Monday also takes place today.

1810696620256726Meyer, Carolyn. Miss Patch's Learn to Sew Book.
December 16th 2014 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Copy provided by Cindy Mitchell of Kiss the Book

Talk about nostalgia! I ordered a copy of this at school, I think and kept it for years. At some point, it went missing, but my best friend (who is not a sewer) gave me her copy! I didn't own many books, surprisingly, but probably made every project in this.

While the beginning instructions on how to sew are still good, I wish that the interior illustrations had been updated from the 1969 ones. Students today don't have a mental construct of grandmothers with buns and flowery dresses any more, although that was certainly both of MY grandmothers! The sections on quilting are no longer valid-- I haven't traced a pattern piece and cut one out with scissors in twenty years. Once I got a rotary cutter, that was it, and I think even younger people would use those.

This was a fun trip down memory lane for me, but I'm not sure that it will entice students to sew in the way it once did.


  1. Loved the sound of Colonial Madness and will definitely be recommending to a few boys. Your sewing books made me smile. In my own middle grade days my mom forced me to take a home-ec course where I learned to sew. I grumbled all the way through it not knowing when I would ever use that skill. Boy was I wrong.

  2. Whittemore sound like a charming tale. I like the idea of the sewing book, but after your description, I can see where it wouldn't make sense. I'm about to start work on a wedding ring quilt for my son, and everything about how these are created is different from way back when.

  3. I had heard of Colonial Madness, but hadn't written it down. I have now. I hope to get to it soon. Thanks for the review. I got Miss Patch's book for my granddaughter, but she shows no interest. I agree, it really needs an update.

  4. Oh, and thanks again for your email this week. My granddaughter is loving Fairy Tale Detective and told me she wants to read the whole series! :-)

  5. The premise of Colonial Madness sounds a bit like The 39 Clues. :) Cute to see Miss Patch's Learn-to-Sew book.

  6. I love the whole premise of Colonial Madness. It reminds me of Pioneer House and some of the other reality shows that PBS has done. I'll have to check out Little Blog on the Prairie as well.

  7. What an interesting collection of books - loved that old book, which took me down memory lane, too.

  8. Ah! The Miss Patch book looks like good fun! I am glad you had a nostalgic week. :) :)