Wednesday, January 01, 2020

After-School Superstars

Mills, Claudia. Nixie Ness: Cooking Star (After-School Superstars #1)
June 25th 2019 by Margaret Ferguson Books
Personal Copy

Nixie loves coming home after school with her friend Grace, and the two have lots of fun with Nixie's mother, who works from home as a graphic designer. When her mother gets a full time job away from home, Nixie ends up in the after school program at her school, and Grace's mother makes other plans for her. Nixie is devastated, especially since Grace starts spending more time with a new student, Elyse. Nixie gets the opportunity to be part of a cooking class at the program, and starts to enjoy both the cooking and the other students, but she still is not happy about what is happening with her best friend. She tries to mend things by making a special lunch for Grace, only to have to give her own lunch to Elyse, and eventually gets desperate enough to pretend to be ill so that her mother will have to leave work and pick her up. Nixie hopes her mother will remember how much fun it was to be home with Nixie and go back to working from home, but of course this plan doesn't work out that way. Eventually, Nixie mends things with Grace, but also realizes that she can make other friends, too.
Strengths: Mills is able to capture elementary school drama perfectly, and Nixie's obsession with keeping Grace to herself is spot on. I love that an after school program is shown; my girls went to a before school program that they enjoyed very much; there were a couple of times when they wished they went after school as well because of some of the activities. I can't really think of many books that cover this except for Clements' The Losers' Club, but there have to be a large number of children who have the experience of being in after school care.
Weaknesses: I would be perfectly happy if all middle school books had 8th or 9th grade characters; would elementary school readers be more likely to pick this one up if the characters were in 5th grade? Also, I would like to see the characters in forthcoming books be interested in science and other STEM topics rather than cooking and drawing.
What I really think: Like Kelsey Green: Reading Queen and the Franklin School Friends books, this is a book that will appeal to struggling 6th grade readers but is absolutely essential for elementary school libraries.

Mills, Claudia. Vera Vance: Comics Star
March 17th 2020 by Margaret Ferguson Books (After-School Superstars #2)

No comments:

Post a Comment