Monday, March 12, 2018

MMGM- Hero: Rescue Mission and Frenemies

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Always in the Middle and #IMWAYR day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday.

Shotz, Jennifer. Hero: Rescue Mission (Hero #3)
October 31st 2017 by HarperCollins
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

Ben is very concerned about his latest baseball game, but when his father has to leave suddenly, he's even more worried. It turns out that there are two dangerous escaped criminals on the loose, and his father, who is a policeman for the Gulfport, Louisiana force, goes to look for them. He leaves Ben in charge of his mother and both Hero and Scout, the new rescue dog. However, Ben is not able to just sit and wait when his father goes missing, so he deputizes his best friend, Noah, whose arm has been injured, to keep an eye on them while he takes off with Hero to help. During the search with the police, Ben is bitten by a snake and ends up in the hospital. He's in pain and woozy from the venom and the drugs, but he still manages to escape. He runs into another boy, Tucker, who loans him a bike and goes with him into the woods. Using Hero's skills, they locate his father in an abandoned cabin. Will two boys, a dog, and a wounded police officer be able to fight off two dangerous criminals?

As much as I personally shook my head at Ben running off from the hospital, Hero: Rescue Mission has all of the hallmarks of a top notch middle grade novel. It starts with a ball game and segues immediately into the search. Ben won't let anything stand in his way of helping, even when he is hurt. Hero is an awesome dog. The criminals are dangerous but just inept enough to be easily defeated. The pacing of the story is very quick, and there are just enough details to add an urgent verisimilitude to Ben's plight.

Reader's who enjoyed Wallace's The Wilder Boys, Hobbs Never Say Die, Gemeinhart's The Honest Truth, Klimo's Barry, or Messner's Ranger in Time series will be delighted with this harrowing tale of survival and adventure that showcases exactly why dogs are a child's best friend.

35553561Krull, Kathleen and Lam, Maple. Frenemies in the Family: Famous Brothers and Sisters Who Butted Heads and Had Each Other's Backs March 13th 2018 by Crown Books for Young Readers
Copy provided by the publisher

In this corporate biography, we are treated to an overview of 16 different sets of siblings who all reached some manner of fame. While the basic biographical details are covered, the fun comes with the detailed stories of the hijinks and intrigue that the siblings in which the siblings were involved. Some are on the sadder side (Queen Elizabeth I and Bloody Mary), some involved lots of competition (the Williams Sisters, the Kennedys), but all showed the difficulties of being in the spotlight of history are how brothers and sisters can either help or hinder you. I liked that most of the time, the siblings were helpful.

The illustrations by Lam are fun, and the comic strip style inserts may encourage children who aren't as crazy about biographies to pick this up. This would be a fun read aloud for a class room and a great way to introduce young readers to historical figures whom they might want to investigate more fully.

The tone is breezy and humorous, and the interactions of the characters the sorts of things that brothers and sisters do all the time. I absolutely adored biographies as a child (in 3rd and 4th grade, I managed to work my way through all of the Childhood of Famous Americans books in my school library), and if I had been given this in second grade, it would have been worn to tatters by the time I was in middle school.               


  1. Good choices. The Frenemies book sound really attractive to me. Thanks for the reviews.

  2. Both of these books sound great! The book on famous siblings seems especially fun. Thanks so much for the recommendations!