Monday, August 21, 2017

MMGM- Kat Greene Comes Clean

27268328Roske, Melissa. Kat Greene Comes Clean
August 22nd 2017 by Charlesbridge
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Kat lives with her divorced mother in Greenwich. She goes to a small, progressive school, and her class is working on a production of Harriet the Spy, and working on a project to go along with that. Kat is paired with Sam, and the two have their ups and downs of getting along. Her friend Halle is a bit obsessed with Michael, a boy in their class whom she thinks like her. Normal, everyday stuff-- except for the fact that Kat's mom is obsessed with cleaning, to the point where her hands are badly chapped and she brings antibacterial wipes to the grocery to use on canned goods. Kat's school has a counselor, Olympia, and Halle encourages Kat to talk to her, but it's hard. Kat looks online and figures that her mother probably suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but when her mother gets excited about making it onto a television show called Clean Sweep, Kat hopes that things will improve. Her father lives across town with his new family, and is very supportive, so when things take a turn for the worst, Kat is able to seek help from her father, her counselor, and her friends.
Strengths: Like Lambert's Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes, this was a solid middle grade novel about a parent with a problem that ends up affecting the tween character. I appreciated that Kat had a lot of support, and that she was able to carry on with her own life while trying to make sense of what was going on with her mother. Her interactions with Halle were particularly interesting-- there is so much friend drama at this age, especially concerning boys. It's also good to see a book pay attention to school projects, since they can be very time consuming.
Weaknesses: New York City is like another planet. Nannies? Calling teachers by their first names? Rapping? I would have preferred a more neutral setting, but this certainly gives some insight into how other people live!
What I really think: Quite an intriguing book. It has enough humor and drama to make it appealing to many of my students. Definitely buying a copy.

31290571Kulling, Monica. Mary Anning's Curiosity
Published May 16th 2017 by Groundwood Books

Mary Anning was born in 1799 and had a difficult childhood in Lyme Regis, England. Her father was a carpenter who made extra money by selling shells and fossils to tourists in the town, but after suffering a fall (and battling tuberculosis), he died, leaving many debts. Mary quit school in order to help with the family income, and devoted her time to fossil hunting. There was another man in town, Captain Cury, who also looked for fossils, and competed against Mary in trying to find things like the "giant croc". Luckily, Mary had better skills and more knowledge than the slap dash Captain, and found some major fossils, which she was able to sell. The main story ends before Mary's adult life, but there are some notes about her further career.
Strengths: As an enormous fan of The Childhood of Famous Americans, I enjoyed this tale of an early pioneer in paleontology. Kulling has a wide range of interesting biographical subjects, including my very favorite, Lillian Gilbreth!The illustrations reminded me of Lois Lenski's work, and even the trim size of the book and the font used make this seem like an older title.
Weaknesses: I really wanted a book that students could use for research.
What I really think: A fun, old-fashioned book to read, but not  all that helpful in terms of research for projects.

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Shannon Messenger's Blog and #IMWAYR day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday.


  1. Kat Greene's school sounds like the one where I did my first student teaching in the city. I will definitely check it out.

  2. Kat Greene Comes Clean is a great story for kids who have OCD or have family members who have OCD. This is the kind of story I like to share. I also loved stories about famous women as a child. Have not heard about Mary Anning's story. Sounds interesting.

  3. Thanks for all of your great recommendations this past week. I'd only read a few of them and did enjoy THINGS THAT SURPRISE YOU. Have a great week.

  4. Both of these books look great, but Mary Anning's Curiosity looks like a fascinating read.

    1. Anonymous3:43 PM EDT

      Thank you Cheriee! My book is historical fiction with lots of nonfiction facts in the Back Matter. I wanted to give kids a sense of Mary Anning's time and place, and hope I've done just that. It wasn't meant to be a book for research purposes. There are plenty of other books that do that. :)

  5. Kay Green Comes Clean sounds like a great read - it can be so upsetting for a child when their parent has a mental illness, and it's so important for them to realise that they're not alone, and that it's not their fault!

  6. Monica Kulling is a great author. I'm eager to check out her latest book. Thanks.

    1. Anonymous3:40 PM EDT

      Thank you, Joanne Roberts, for your kind words!

  7. Kat Green Comes Clean just went on my TBR list and I think Mary Anning's Curiosity will as well. Thanks for the heads up.

  8. Anonymous3:36 PM EDT

    Thank you, Joanne Roberts, for your kind words. The story I've written about this intrepid true-life girl who uncovers many major fossil finds is meant to immerse children in the experience of living in Mary Anning's time (early 19th century) and place (Lyme Regis-south coast of England.) The extensive Back Matter provides much nonfiction facts for the interested boy or girl. Thank you Joanne for checking out the book! I appreciate it. --Monica Kulling