Monday, January 13, 2020

MMGM- Pixie Pushes On and Rise Up

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.

Bundy, Tamara. Pixie Pushes On
January 14th 2020 by Penguin/Paulsen
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Pixie has moved with her father and sister Charlotte to her grandparents' farm because life is hard in 1942. Her mother has passed away, and her sister is in the hospital with polio, which has fortunately attacked her legs and not her lungs. Her neighbor, Ricky, also has difficulties in his family; his father has left, his brother is in the army, and his mother is not coping well. Pixie misses her sister and feels responsible for her illness, but has to continue to do her chores on the farm and go to school. Her grandfather gets a runt lamb for Pixie to raise. She names him Buster even though she has been warned he is not a pet, and puts a lot of effort into bringing him back to health. Pixie doesn't get along well with Bertha, the daughter of the local general store owner, but the two get to know each other a bit and slowly become friends. As the war progresses, there are events that impact life on the farm, but by the end of the book, the war is over, Charlotte is home, and Pixie is able to "push on".
Strengths: This had excellent details about daily life in a rural setting during the war, and the feel of a somewhat older title; I kept thinking of Lowry's Autumn Street when I read this. Life just seemed to take more effort back then, but people were more engaged in their communities. There are a few books that touch on the polio epidemic, but not many, so this was a good addition. (My mother had a slight case when young and was left with a heart murmur.) It's also good to see stories set on farms, since that is something fewer and fewer young people experience. It was realistic that the children in this book experienced loss of family members, but I liked how the grief was dealt with. The other book this reminded me of was The House Without a Christmas Tree.
Weaknesses: This was rather slow paced, so isn't for all readers.
What I really think: I will purchase this for both our WWII and Decades (1930s-1970s) project, and will definitely hand to the growing number of readers asking for historical fiction.

Li, Amanda and Blackwell, Amy (Illustrator). Rise Up: Ordinary Kids with Extraordinary Stories.
January 14th 2020 by Andrews McMeel Publishing
Copy provided by the publisher

This beautifully illustrated collection of biographies of young people who made a difference covers a wide range of people from different parts of the world and periods of history, although has a large number of people who are in the news now, like Greta Thunberg. In addition to the biographies, each section gives advice on how young people can participate in activities similar to the ones in the accompanying biography. Interestingly enough, though, there is a disclaimer at the back of the book that readers should NOT try these things at home! This book is great for dipping into and getting ideas about further study, and is one of those books that makes me want to buy two copies so I can take one apart, laminate the pages, and make bulletin boards!

I do wish that every entry had years associated with the person, however. Most do, but some do not, and this was less than helpful. There is also not an index, and the table of contents does not list the subjects' names. There is a lot of good information in this book, but it seems to be intended as more of a casual read than a book for research.
Ms. Yingling


  1. You have a GROWING number of readers asking for historical fiction? HOORAY!!

  2. Thanks for both titles, Karen. I'll look for them!

  3. Both of these sound interesting Karen. An older, Canadian, title that deals with the polio epidemic is The Giant-Slayer by Iain Lawrence. (2009) It's set in the 50's just before the first vaccine. Readers from my school library loved it.

  4. I have a small, but loyal historical fiction group as well. They usually don't mind if the pacing is a bit slower. Thanks for the post!

  5. I'm definitely interested in finding Rise Up! But agree with what you're saying about the backmatter - I feel like in this day and age of information and fact verifying, you need information at the end to show you did your work in finding out the information!
    I have Pixie. Will hopefully get to her soon!

  6. This time period of life on a farm during WWII, is rarely seen in stories. Your review intrigued me.

    Kids making a difference in their world are my favorite books to read and share. I have one ready to share. Rise Up: Ordinary Kids with Extraordinary Stories, sounds like a book I'd really love. Thank you for sharing!

  7. I'm so happy to learn about Rise Up: Ordinary Kids with Extraordinary Stories. And I'm sad to see it's gotten barely any attention on Goodreads. I'll have to look this title up. Thanks for sharing, Karen!