Monday, July 03, 2017

MMGM- Surivor Diaries #1 and Middle School Babymouse

30971616Johnson, Terry Lynn. Overboard! Survivor Diaries #1
July 4th 2017 by HMH Books for Young Readers
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Travis and his family are on a boat off the coast of Washington State on a whale watching expedition run by Marina and her father. When a wave capsizes the boat, the two children get swept away from everyone else. Marina knows water safety since she has worked on the family boat, and the two finally make it to a small island. There, they continue to use their survival skills to stay warm, start a fire, and find a way to alert people where they are. Travis must manage to overcome his fear of heights in order help the two survive.
Strengths: This was a great, fast-paced book that fans of Tarshis' I Survived series will gobble up! While that series seems to revolve around children surviving by accident, Overboard! shows how Travis and Marina deliberately use their knowledge and skills to survive. This also had survival tips from the Coast Guard at the end of the book, providing readers with useful information! The next book in the series is Avalanche!, which should be good as well. Johnson's experience in the outdoors shines through in this.
Weaknesses: I could have done without the artifice of the reporter interviewing Travis at the beginning of the book, but I think this will tie all of the volumes together. Also, I was disappointed this wasn't Ice Dogs, which was just brilliant. Overboard will find more readers, but Ice Dogs was just brilliantly written.
What I really think: Definitely purchasing this whole series, because the books will never be on the shelves!

Holm, Jennifer L. and Matthew. Lights, Camera, Middle School (Tales from the Locker #1)
Random House Books for Young Readers
ARC provided by the Publisher

Babymouse is headed to middle school, which is the scariest place on earth, akin to a monster movie, where the popular zombies wear sparkly lip gloss, lunch is horrible, lockers are beyond understanding, and the library is the refuge of choice. She is worried that her lack of good whiskers will impair her social progress, even though she doesn't really want to fit in. She'd rather stand out! What better way to do that than to get involved in film club? Ms. Octavia is glad to have Babymouse, who writes a script for an epic film adventure called Au Revoir, My Locker. The roles are cast, scenes are blocked, and filming begins. There are any number of set backs-- filming is deleted, scenes go wrong, and bathrooms are flooded. Through it all, however, Babymouse perserveres with a tiny bit of help from her friends, and her film premiers to... unexpected laughter which leads Babymouse to the insightful remark that "MIddle school wasn't a monster movie. It was a comedy. A bad comedy."
Strengths: Middle school students are certainly more than ready for Babymouse to get older and follow them to middle school. I was particularly pleased with the change in format. The book is slightly bigger, but maintains the 18 point font, and there are enough pages with pictures on them to lure in reluctant readers. The story is true to Babymouse's established eccentricities, but adds new, age appropriate concerns. This will be hugely popular.
Weaknesses: There are so many books that tell students how miserable middle school will be, and I find them slightly tiring. I also am not entirely convinced that middle school libraries are quite the haven during lunch that they are portrayed to be in literature. Mine is much too busy during lunch for it to be a good place for students to hide!
What I really think: A must purchase for all middle school libraries. Just not my personal favorite. Does Babymouse have an actual name?
Ms. Yingling


  1. I imagine this Babymouse book will be popular as heck with readers.
    The only time my library was quiet was at recess when the library was closed because The Librarian needs a break. I used to tell those students who needed a refuge that I would pretend they weren't there if I couldn't see them. Then I would forget about them. I used to get teachers sending other students down looking for them long after recess was over. They were so into their books that they didn't notice the bell.

  2. I didn't realize Johnson had another new novel out. Love her writing. You're right, her knowledge of survival makes her books shine. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I definitely agree with you - I never went to middle school (we don't have them here), but I actually had a great experience in high school, unlike pretty much every book ever!

  4. Thanks for both these reviews. I LOVED Ice Dogs and really like survival stories, so will probably check out that series.

  5. I have Survivor Diaries, just haven't gotten to it. Thanks for the reminder. When I picked it up I was thinking step up from I Survived series.