Saturday, June 15, 2019

Magic on the Map

Sheinmel, Courtney and Turetsky, Bianca. Let's Mooove!
May 7th 2019 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Copy provided by the publisher

Finn and Molly Parker's father brings home a travel camper for which he has traded his car. Their mother is not happy, and requests that the camper be returned. While the twins are not really happy about the thought of traveling, they are curious about the camper, and sneak into it at night. They find that the camper talks to them, and befreo they know it, they are on a dude ranch in Colorado! The camper (aka PET- Planet Earth Transport) tells them that they can return once they are done with their mission. This turns out to be saving a cow, Snowflake, who has extra tasty milk, from the clutches of the EZ Cheez villains. Mission accomplished, the twins return home to get ready for further adventures in...

Sheinmel, Courtney and Turetsky, Bianca. The Show Must Go On!
May 7th 2019 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Copy provided by the publisher

This time, When Finn and Molly get in the camper, they are whisked off to New York City and garbed in the finest local clothing. ( A baseball jersey and "I Love NY" shirt.)Hallie Hampton, star of the television program Awesome Sauce, stops in her limousine and asks the kids to jump in. She thinks they live in New York and can help her win a POP Magazine scavenger hunt, the prize to which is being photographed by famed portrait artist Billie Fischer. Hallie has to get to a rehearsal for a play, so she deputizes the Parkers to follow the clues, racing against her nemesis, Cleo. Cleo is dastardly and tries to win using mean ways, but the Parkers are good kids, so people want to help them out with helicopters! They lose the contest on a technicality, but their mission turns out to be supportive of Hallie during her play. 

Strengths: The Parkers are from Ohio! Since this series will most likely have the children traveling all over the US, this made me happy. Ohio is rather centrally located when it comes to highways, even if they are traveling magically. There are fun facts about the states at the end of the book, and enough about the local residents to make this interesting.
Weaknesses: There will be a review somewhere that mentions that this book has a "white default". It does. But it would be a little odd if ALL of the books published were #WNDB. I would argue that these are so short that there isn't really time to work a particular ethnicity into the book. I was more bothered by the noses in the (otherwise fantastic!) illustrations. (They are much darker than the characters' faces, making them look like Pinocchio somehow. I am very picky about noses, apparently.)
What I really think: I won't be purchasing for my library, but these reminded me a lot of Osborne's Magic Treehouse books, but without a central quest. I would have been scouring the thrift stores for this series twenty years ago! (My budget, sadly, did not extend to new books, which is why my girls have fond memories of books that people ten years older than they are read!) A definite purchase for elementary schools or parents of voracious first to third grade readers.

Ms. Yingling

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