Middle Grade New Releases, January 29, 2019

Happy book birthday to these middle grade books making their rounds through our reviewers!

Thank you to @kidlitexchange for providing the review copies of these books. All opinions are our own.

(January 29th 2019 ~ Algonquin Young Readers)

Convicted of thievery and transported from England to America, Oliver Cromwell Pitts, shackled to his fellow prisoners, endures inedible food, filthy conditions, and deadly storms on his voyage across the Atlantic. But the hazardous shipboard journey is nothing compared to the peril that waits for him on the colonial shores.

In Annapolis, Oliver’s indentured servitude is purchased by the foul, miserly Fitzhugh, who may have murdered another servant. On Fitzhugh’s isolated tobacco farm, Oliver’s only companion is an enslaved boy named Bara. Oliver and Bara become fast friends with one powerful goal: to escape Fitzhugh. Oliver hopes he can find his sister, Charity, brought somewhere in the colonies on a different ship. Bara dreams of reaching a community of free black people in the cypress swamp who may help him gain his liberty. But first the boys must flee Fitzhugh’s plantation and outrun their brutal pursuer and the dangers that lurk in the swamp. 

Look for a review soon on #kidlitexchange!

(January 29th 2019 ~ Scholastic)

Review and Photo by Juli ~ originally on Instagram @whatmykidsandiread

This is the first of the TWO DOGS IN A TRENCH COAT series that I’ve read, and it was so great! Its such a funny premise for books: Waldo and Sassy are two dogs who wear a trench coat and pretend to be a student at Bea Arthur (ha!) Elementary so they can be with their boy, Stewart. 🐶
This is the 2nd book and this time around, the dogs START A CLUB BY ACCIDENT. Mostly because the they can’t ever figure out that a club isn’t a sandwich.
And they don’t want to join the Office Supply Enthusiasts Club with Stewart (I’d join that club) because there aren’t any snacks.
And no surprise, but their club has a whole lot to do with snacks. 🥩
Julie Falatko has mastered that middle grade silly humor that kids just eat up. It’s just such funny writing, especially Waldo’s “dog as a human” voice. I found myself laughing out loud in a bunch of sections and I’m not even 8. Colin Jack’s illustrations are really great, too, and add the perfect amount of goofy fun to almost every page. 🐕
I read it first so that I could share my review but I’m really looking forward to introducing this series to my girls.

img_7521WEIR DO by Anh Do
(January 29th 2019 ~ Scholastic Inc.)

Review and Photo by Kelly ~ originally on Instagram @kidlitunderground

Weir Do (Weir was his mom’s maiden name) is “stuck with the worst name since Mrs. Face called her son Butt” and kicks off his first day at a new school by burning a hole in the butt of his pants. Naturally, he’s wearing frog underwear.
On Day #2, he befriends weirder, newer kid Henry, and Bella Allen, the seventh-prettiest girl in the grade, for wacky misadventures told in episodic shorts heavy with illustrations and changing font.

My saga with this book is documented: My 6 y/o diva read it, proclaimed Weir and Henry “weird and gross”, but read the book several more times and has been seen sleeping with it under her pillow. Since Weir’s toddler brother keeps getting his, ahem, THING slammed in the toilet seat and Henry has a hat that dispenses toilet paper, my 7 y/o son is now into Weir Do too. My kids are taking turns reading passages aloud and dying laughing. Send help.

1. Weir is Vietnamese-white biracial; while mentioned, his ethnicity is not central to the story.
2. Weir is more into art than sports, not “cool” by any means, but is comfortable in his own goofy skin and lists all the reasons he loves himself.
3. The 1 on the spine, means we have a series!

(January 29th 2019 ~ Scholastic Nonfiction)

Robert M. Edsel brings the story of his #1 NYT bestseller for adults The Monuments Men to young readers for the first time in this dynamic, narrative nonfiction project packed with photos.
Robert M. Edsel, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Monuments Men, brings this story to young readers for the first time in a sweeping, dynamic adventure detailing history’s greatest treasure hunt.

As the most destructive war in history ravaged Europe, many of the world’s most cherished cultural objects were in harm’s way. The Greatest Treasure Hunt in History recounts the astonishing true story of 11 men and one woman who risked their lives amidst the bloodshed of World War II to preserve churches, libraries, monuments, and works of art that for centuries defined the heritage of Western civilization. As the war raged, these American and British volunteers — museum curators, art scholars and educators, architects, archivists, and artists, known as the Monuments Men — found themselves in a desperate race against time to locate and save the many priceless treasures and works of art stolen by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. 

Look for a review soon on #kidlitexchange!

img_7522SECONDHAND WISHES – by Anna Staniszewski
(January 29th 2019 ~ Scholastic Press)

Review and Picture by Melanie ~ originally on Instagram @alaneysbooknook

This book was good. I think it was a great look at how one girl, Lexi, coped with her brother’s illness. I think we can all relate to change being scary and sticking to a normal routine. As Lexi makes her wishes and we see the results, it’s a reminder of how the grass isn’t always greener. Seeing Lexi able to grow to accept change and be more flexible, really drives the story. Good things can come, when we accept the change that enables us to grow. Definitely a quick good read.

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