Sunday, March 24, 2019

MMGM - The Littlest Bigfoot

The Littlest Bigfoot

The Littlest Bigfoot
by Jennifer Weiner
September 2016

I posted about this book before, but not for MMGM.

 I admit I am a "wanna be believer" in Bigfoot. So, when I saw this MG book, I just had to read it.

I love the beautiful cover with a pretty young girl and a cute littlest Bigfoot.

The MC feels she is unwanted, unloved, too big and has very unruly hair. I do feel that the cover should have been more true to the description of the main character in the book. I know some of you may think this sounds silly, but I feel if a young girl who is a little overweight reads this book and then looks at the picture on the cover, she's going to think, "If she's supposed to be big, then I must really be big."

The book starts out slow and is written in three POVs - Alice, Millie and Jeremy. If you can keep reading through the slow beginning and get used to the three POVs, you will find it to be an interesting read. In the second half of the book, I found myself wanting to finish the book to see what happens - and that is good.

This is what it says on Amazon:

Alice Mayfair, twelve years old, slips through the world unseen and unnoticed. Ignored by her family and shipped off to her eighth boarding school, Alice would like a friend. And when she rescues Millie Maximus from drowning in a lake one day, she finds one.

But Millie is a Bigfoot, part of a clan who dwells deep in the woods. Most Bigfoots believe that people—NoFurs, as they call them—are dangerous, yet Millie is fascinated with the No-Fur world. She is convinced that humans will appreciate all the things about her that her Bigfoot tribe does not: her fearless nature, her lovely singing voice, and her desire to be a star.

Alice swears to protect Millie’s secret. But a league of Bigfoot hunters is on their trail, led by a lonely kid named Jeremy. And in order to survive, Alice and Millie have to put their trust in each other—and have faith in themselves—above all else.

Have you read The Littlest Bigfoot?
Are you a "wanna be believer" in Bigfoot?

Go over to Always in the Middle to find out who else is posting about MG Books.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

MMGM - The Last Treasure

Image result for the last treasure images

The Last Treasure
by Janet S. Anderson

This story is interesting and might be something you always dreamed of happening to you when you were a child - but didn't. 

You see, there's a family treasure. And that treasure can only be found by children in the family. The story spans many generations of the Smith Family. In the front of the book there is a family tree with all the names and dates of the Smith Family ancestors. There is also a map of the Square where all ten of the family houses are located.

I love mysteries like this and I am one of those who wishes that there was a treasure to be found in my family tree. (I even wrote a manuscript about it and hopefully one day it will be published).

Thirteen-year-old Ellsworth (Zee) Smith receives a letter from one of his relatives still living in the Square in New York. She wants him to return and help find the last of the three treasures that the Smith family patriarch left for his descendants. The Square is in bad shape. There's been a long drought, the pond is drying up, the huge trees are dying and most of the houses need repairs. They need to find the treasure.

His dad doesn't want him to go, but with money his relative sends him, he hops on a bus and goes anyway. When he arrives he finds and becomes acquainted with many relatives that he doesn't know anything about. He joins up with Jess, a girl cousin his age, and they become obsessed with finding the treasure.

There are a lot of characters and many of them don't get along. But in the end they come together to try and find the treasure - and bringing the family together might be the greatest treasure of all.

It is a good read and I recommend it for people who like a little mystery.

Join others reviewing middle grade books over on Always in the Middle.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

MMGM - Shooting the Moon

Image result for shooting the moon book


by Frances O'Roark Dowell

Atheneum Books for Young Readers



This story takes place during the Vietnam War. Twelve-year-old Jamie and her brother have both dreamed of following in the footsteps of their father, the Colonel. She is thrilled when her brother enlists in the army and is being sent to Vietnam. Her parents aren't as thrilled, because unlike Jamie, they know what the consequences could be. 

She looks forward to letters from her brother, but instead of writing to her, he sends rolls of film to her to develop on a regular basis. 

A lot of the story takes place in a rec room on the base where she volunteers at during the summer. She plays gin rummy with the soldier who works there. A  friendship grows between the two and slowly Jamie grows to dislike the war and worries about her brother and that her friend might also be sent to Vietnam.

The end is a little abrupt and different, but all in all satisfying.

The Horn Book said "complicated and unpredictable -- just like war."

This historical fiction was a fairly quick read. I read it in one day. If you are interested in the Vietnam War and that time period, I would recommend it.

Click here to check out my post on Darlene Beck-Jacobson's web page today. It is about the research I did on my book, Duck and Cover.

Happy reading!

Join others reviewing middle grade books over on Always in the Middle.

Friday, March 1, 2019

A Writer's Bookshelves

I love books!

This is a bookshelf that sits next to my computer. It has my reference books in it and some of my favorite middle grade books.

For 8 years I wrote a column for kids and I also like writing historical fiction.

My middle grade book (which means it is geared toward 8-12 year olds - but baby boomers love it, too, because they were young when this story takes place) Duck and Cover, is a historical fiction novel. It takes place in the fall of 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Here are some more reference type books that I have on my shelves that I have found to be very helpful in my writing.

Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg. I have 3 other bookcases in our family room. They are filled with numerous other books, including picture books, chapter books, vintage books, copies of Two Lane Livin' (the magazine I wrote a children's column in). etc. etc.

Oh, I can't leave out a pic of this old floor-model radio which was converted into a bookcase. I bought this at a yard sale for $3. It is filled with Little Golden Books!

Do you have lots of books, too?
If you like, tell us about them in your comment.
Or better yet, do a blog post about them and come back and put a link to it in your comment - I'd love to see them.

Happy Writing


Monday, February 25, 2019




by Carl Hiaasen

Alfred A Knopf Books for Young Readers


I'll be honest, I picked this book up at a thrift store. I had heard a lot about Hoot and it was a Newberry Honor Book, so I had high expectations.

Once I was trying to see how many Newberry winners I could read. I told the librarian it would be nice if they would be shelved separate from the others so they could be found easier. The librarian told me that if they did that the kids wouldn't pick those to check out. Hmmmm

Well, this book was okay, but it took me a while to get into it. I could tell the author was used to writing adult novels, by the way he wrote this book. 

It was a fairly slow start with a lot of telling - the very thing I try not to do when I write. I even considered stopping, but I continued.

I had to get used to the way it was written - kids' scenes stopping and turning into adult scenes in the middle of the chapters. I would be engrossed in what was happening with the kids and then he would suddenly stop and go to what was happening with the adults.

Then there was this thing with the bad words. I think they could have been left out.
And, although many people describe Hoot as a laugh-out-loud book, and I love humor in a book, I was disappointed. I never once laughed out loud while reading it.

For those of you who may not have read it. Roy, the main character, just moved to Florida from Montana and he isn't very happy with the change. A bully has targeted him to pick on all the time. And I can't believe the bus driver is oblivious to all of this. And very few of the adult characters in the book could be considered good role models.

The premise of the story is that Roy, a soccer player girl and her step brother join to save cute little burrowing owls where a Pancake House is scheduled to be built. I'll let you read it to find out what happened.

I am glad I continued. After I got used to the way he was writing it, the story had me wanting to see what would happen next. To me this was an okay book, but I have read better. 

But, according to reviews online, many people really like it and you may, too.

Happy reading!

Join others reviewing middle grade books over on Always in the Middle.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

MMGM - Catch Me When I Fall

Catch Me When I Fall

Bonnie Graves

Age Range: 9-12 years
Grade Level: 4-7
Publisher: Regal House Publishing

 Image result for catch  me when i fall

This book is set during the Great Depression in Wisconsin.

Emma is a very athletic girl who likes to run, to cartwheel, and to walk on the narrow railing on the bridge over the muddy water of Root River.

She dreams of running away to join the circus. But mostly she dreams of finding out who her father is.

The circus was coming to town and she saw the picture of Filippo the Flying Wonder on it. She gasped. It looked just like the picture she saw of her dad. The picture her mother kept hidden in her bureau.

She wanted to go to the circus to see Filippo and ask him if he was her father. She didn't have the money for the ticket and her mother didn't want her to have anything to do with the circus.
So she decided to dress like a boy to get a job at the circus to earn a ticket for the matinee. She finds out it's not easy being a circus worker. She helps put up the tent and makes friends with 'her' elephants. But . . .

Will the Boss Man see through her disguise?
Will she get to talk to Filippo?
Will her nosy cousins tell on her to her mother?

The book is a page turner. But in the end you will get the answers to your questions.
And you will find out why her mother didn't want her to sneak out to the circus and why she kept secret who Emma's father was. But she also finds out a secret about her mother.

Go over to Always in the Middle to find out who else is posting about MG Books.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Picture Books and STORYSTORM

The New Year has started and I am again participating in Tara Lazar's StoryStorm.
It is a month in which we try to come up with at least one picture book story idea each day.

Imagine 30 new story ideas!

There is a different post each day to inspire us. Even if you don't register (You can register up until January 7), you can visit her blog each day and read all the inspirational and informative posts on writing picture books.

Today there is a post about the different structures of picture books.

Tammi Sauer challenged each of us to come up with at least one picture book idea using the different structures.

I think I will take up the challenge.

I checked my previously written picture book manuscripts to see if I had used any of these different structures in writing them

Seems most of mine follow the classic picture book structure, which is:

MC has a problem
MC faces obstacles that escalate
MC encounters a dark moment in which things can't possibly get worse
MC figures out how to solve the problem
MC grows/changes by the book's end.

But . . . 

I have written a PB about hummingbirds that I think falls into the concept category.
And one of my PBs about a lovable monster could fit in the reversal category.

If you want to learn more about writing picture books, I highly recommend joining Tara and other picture book writers in Storystorm.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Halloweensie Post


Halloweensie Post

I've entered Susanna Leonard Hill's 8th Annual  HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!
Everyone participating writes  a 100 word or less Halloween Story that includes the words shiver, cauldron and howl!

 Below are my two entries: The first one is exactly 100 words and the second one is 88 words.

The Halloween Night Talent Show

 “Let the Halloween talent show begin!” howled Walter Werewolf.

Barney Bat swung on the trapeze.

Marvin Mummy moonwalked.

Shivery Skeleton played Monster Mash on his ribs.

“Piff! Poof!” Wendola Witch created candy in her cauldron.

 “How can I win?” said Gabby Ghost. “All I do is juggle.”

He grabbed his six tiny pumpkins and floated toward center stage.

Wendola Witch stuck out her skinny shoe.

Gabby tripped.

Gabby flipped.

Gabby spun all about and landed in the candy-filled cauldron.

Sweet Goodies flew into everyone’s bags.

“Happy Halloween!” shouted Gabby.

His six tiny pumpkins fell and stacked on Wendola’s pointy hat. 


Happy Howl-oween!

Scary ghosts, wicked werewolfs,
vampires and creatures
Burst forth onto the sidewalks
wearing bright sneakers.

Little monsters rush about
Chanting, “Trick or treat!”
Mothers give from a cauldron,
Candies, sour and sweet.

Goblins gather, monsters march
On this spooky night.
Mummies shiver, cold winds howl,
Wild witches take flight.

Furry bats fly, spooks collide
Through the haunted house.
“Sit a spell and sip some brew,”
Squeaks the tiny mouse.

“Happy Howl-oween!” spooks shout,
as the moon shines bright.
“We’ll be back again next year
On this frightful night.”

Well, there they are. 
Wish me luck. 
She has great prizes to give away to the winners. Go here and check out the other entries.

Happy Halloweensie everyone!