The Secret Starling; Judith Eagle (Ill. Jo Rioux)
Walker Books - US - Ages 10-14
Set in a time before technology, twelve year old Clara Starling lived a boring and lonely life in a crumbling old British mansion with her strict uncle Edward. Her mother died when Clara was born and Clara never knew her father. One day her uncle disappears leaving her with a pocketful of money. Clara is unsure what to do having been sheltered from the outside world with no friends and now no uncle. Things change when Peter, an orphan boy her age arrives with his cat. He is expecting to be staying with Edward after his grandma has become ill but, soon the two abandoned children need to work together and solve a the mystery of the past and what has brought them together. Can they piece together the past with some clues found in the present?
A charming mystery story with an old-fashion feel that both children and adults can enjoy; I loved the illustrations as well.
Judy Moody in a Monday Mood; Megan McDonald (Ill. Peter H. Reynolds)
Candlewick Press - 2021 - (Ages 6-9)
Who hasn't had the Sunday night blues? Young Judy Moody is no exception so when feeling rather down at school, hr teacher Mr. Todd comes up with an idea that cheers her up - he declares a reason to celebrate "Bubble Wrap Day." It is indeed a strange day to celebrate but it opens the door to new types of celebrations for Judy, her brother and her friends. Their ideas are wild and crazy as "bubble wrap day" but, open up the opportunity to do good things and celebrate differences and isn't that a wonderful thing?
Judy Moody is a kid pleaser; children in Grades 1-3 will enjoy this fun story and well done illustrations.
Welcome Back Maple Mehta-Cohen; Kate McGovern
Candlewick Press - 2021 (ages 9-12)
Maple is a half-Indian - half-Jewish girl who is has an amazing vocabulary, she writes stories but, she is struggling. She is in the fifth grade (again) and trying to keep a secret from her friends. She has difficulty reading, it does not come easy to her - she mixes up the words. Her anxiety increases as she worries what the other kids will think and say about her and, she feels like she is disappointing her family as well.
This was such a well written, realistic story and such an important one as well. I liked that not only is Maple of mixed heritage, the story was also about children with real learning issues like dyslexia. I thought the perfect target age for this story would be 10-11 year old children.
My thanks go to Walker Books US and Candlewick Press for sending these books my way in exchange for my unbiased reviews.