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Children's Lit Middle Grade Reads Weekly Reviews

Scritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie- MG Fiction Review

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Title: Scritch Scratch
Author: Lindsay Currie
Publisher: SourceBooks for Young Readers
Publishing Date: September 1, 2020
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Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this e-ARC

Scritch Scratch had me on the edge of my seat for the entirety of this story! I couldn’t put this down. I was asked to be on Lindsay’s street team for this novel and I have enjoyed getting to know her while helping her get the word out about this story. when I finally sat down to read it I couldn’t have been more impressed. Horror is not an easy genre to write for kids. You can’t make it too scary or it becomes too much, but you don’t want it to come off as too silly either. Kids like to be thrilled and scared sometimes! I know this will be recommended in my library to my students who love a good thrill!

The characters in Scritch Scratch are so relatable so I know students in grades 4-8 will be able to relate to them as well. There is a good blend of frightening scenes with realistic friendships, sibling relationships, and relationships with parents.

I would recommend this to fans of Goosebumps and Mary Downing Hahn books.

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Children's Lit Middle Grade Reads Weekly Reviews

Curse of the Night Witch (Emblem Island #1) by Alex Aster

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Title:Curse of the Night Witch
Author: Alex Aster
Publisher: Sourcebooks Young Readers
Publishing Date: June 9, 2020
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In the spirit of Percy Jackson, this epic fantasy adventure novel had me turning the pages as fast as I could! Emblem Island is a place of magic, but none like we have read about before. And when a young boy wishes for a future different that what he has been given, he ends up cursed along with his best friend, and a girl from his class. They must break the curse by finding the Night Witch.

What I found the most lovable about this trio is that they reminded me so much of Harry, Ron and Hermione from the Harry Potter franchise. Tor, born with the leadership emblem, is our fearless hero, his best friend, Engle, is the lovable side kick, and Melda, is witty, brave, and sometimes annoying, but overall a wonderful friend to have by Tor’s side. This type of trio is often found in epic fantasies and is one of my favorite parts of the structure of these types of middle grade literature.

The most frustrating part was the ending… WHAT A CLIFF HANGER! I cannot wait to see what happens in book 2! I highly recommend this to fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, For readers ages 9- 14, and for anyone who needs a little magic and a little adventure in their lives.

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Children's Lit Lone Star Book Blog Tour Posts Middle Grade Reads

Finding Esme Review

FINDING ESME
by
SUZANNE CROWLEY
   Genre: Middle Grade (3-7) / Magical Realism / Family & Loss Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Date of Publication: August 14, 2018
Number of Pages: 288
Scroll down for the giveaway!
After her grandfather died from a heart attack while driving his tractor on Solace Hill, twelve-year-old Esme’s been inextricably drawn to that spot, although her grandmother warns her to stay away. But when she follows her little brother, Bo, and her dog, Old Jack, up the hill while chasing fireflies, she makes an incredible discovery—dinosaur bones peeking out from underneath the abandoned tractor. The bones must be a message from her grandfather, a connection from beyond the grave. But when word gets out that the farm is hiding something valuable, reporters, researchers, and neighbors arrive in droves. Esme struggles to understand who has her best interests at heart, especially as the memory of her grandfather begins to slip away. Full of friendship and adventure, and featuring a palpable Texas setting, Finding Esme is a moving and heartfelt story about family, friendship, and learning to deal with loss.
PRAISE & HONORS FOR FINDING ESME:
“Esme is a brave, appealing heroine with the odds stacked against her… Bad blood and layered family secrets drive this story to its ultimately optimistic and satisfying conclusion.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review) “Esme McCauley is a lonely but spirited 12-year-old who feels nothing ever happens to her the way it’s supposed to…A poignant tale for readers who enjoy character-driven realism.” — School Library Journal “Readers muddling through preteen changes or unstable family lives will identify with Esme’s struggles, but the thrill of discovery will appeal to most.” — Booklist
Texas Library Association 2019 Spirit of Texas (SPOT) reading program selection

Most people envision small-town-Texas to be quaint, picturesque, full of sunsets, cowboys, and fields of golden grain. What they don’t envision is the grittiness of the people that live in the rural towns throughout the state. I know I didn’t until I worked in a small town. One of the best parts of Finding Esme is the author’s ability to just grasp the personalities that spring out of the normally, impoverished rural areas and their grittiness, warmth, and big personalities.

Esme is the child that everyone wishes they could be or could be friends with. She has a best friend who lives in some of the worst conditions. Between the two of them, the two kids have some seen things and heard things and experienced things they shouldn’t have. But, when Esme digs up dinosaur bones on the top of the hill where her grandfather died, she suddenly has a secret she doesn’t want to give up. I loved the slow and languishing way this story unfolded and how the details, at first, didn’t seem important, but after you got to the end, you realized just how important all the details were in weaving the plot together.

I ended up giving this 4 out of 5 stars. I over all really enjoyed this story, but when I was trying to think of a middle grade student who would enjoy it, I realized that the things I loved about the story, I loved because I was an adult who had lived in one of these towns. I almost wish this had been written with the characters older, so it could have been even grittier. I do recommend this book to fans of Raymie Nightingale by Kate Dicamillo and The Unforgettable Guinevere St. Clair by Amy Mackechnie and to middle graders who live in smaller rural areas who I think can relate to all the characters in Esme’s world.

Suzanne Crowley is the author of two acclaimed novels for young readers, The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous and The Stolen One. The author, who is also a miniaturist and dollhouse collector whose work has graced the covers of magazines worldwide, was born in a small town in Texas and lives in Southlake, Texas. When not hugging her dog or imbibing in chocolate, she can often be found taking a nap.
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GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
TWO READERS EACH WIN A SIGNED COPY OF FINDING ESME, TWO CANDLES, BOOKMARKS, FUN FACT CARDS, AND A PEN! February 11-21, 2020
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