Beezus and Ramona (MMGM)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Hi, everyone! This week, I'm doing a throwback to one of my favorite childhood books...

  • Age Recommended: 8-12
  • Paperback: 159 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic; First edition. edition (2000)

"Having a little sister like four-year-old Ramona isn't always easy for Beezus Quimby. With a wild imagination, disregard for order, and an appetite for chaos, Ramona makes it hard for Beezus to be the responsible older sister she knows she ought to be…especially when Ramona threatens to ruin Beezus's birthday party. Newbery Medal winner Beverly Cleary delivers a humorous tale of the ups and downs of sisterhood. Both the younger and older siblings of the family will enjoy this book."

I'm pretty sure that everybody knows about Ramona. In case you don't, she's a four-year-old who is pretty much the most imaginative person on earth. Yes, imagination is her deal. 

I'm not going to go so much into the "Five Reasons Why You Should Read And Love" list, because I'm slightly behind, (it's 10 in the morning on Sunday) so you guys get a paragraph instead. :-)

I think the reason why I like Beezus and Ramona so much is because I have a sibling too. And I can totally get Beezus. And then Ramona is the 2.0 version of my sister. She's more crazy, more imaginative, and more funny. My sister drives me CRAZY, (don't ask) but is nothing like Ramona. Another reason why I like this book is because of Beverly Cleary's writing. It's fantastic, it's clear, it's imaginative (Lot's of imagination, huh?), and it's just plain wonderful!! 

My Rating: 

Kinda goes in without saying, but...

In case you can't see the picture, it's 5 STARS!!!!

To make up for the super short review, here's a super long bio!!! 

Beverly Cleary was born in McMinnville, Oregon, and, until she was old enough to attend school, lived on a farm in Yamhill, a town so small it had no library. Her mother arranged with the State Library to have books sent to Yamhill and acted as librarian in a lodge room upstairs over a bank. There young Beverly learned to love books. However, when the family moved to Portland, Beverly soon found herself in the grammar school's low reading circle, an experience that has given her sympathy for the problems of struggling readers.
By the third grade she had conquered reading and spent much of her childhood either with books or on her way to and from the public library. Before long her school librarian was suggesting that she should write for boys and girls when she grew up. The idea appealed to her, and she decided that someday she would write the books she longed to read but was unable to find on the library shelves, funny stories about her neighborhood and the sort of children she knew. And so Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, Ellen Tebbits, and her other beloved characters were born.
When children ask Mrs. Cleary where she finds her ideas, she replies, "From my own experience and from the world around me." She included a passage about the D.E.A.R. program in Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (second chapter) because she was inspired by letters she received from children who participated in "Drop Everything and Read" activities. Their interest and enthusiasm encouraged her to provide the same experience to Ramona, who enjoys D.E.A.R. time with the rest of her class.
Mrs. Cleary's books have earned her many prestigious awards, including the 2003 National Medal of Art from the National Endowment of the Arts and the 1984 John Newbery Medal for Dear Mr. Henshaw. Her Ramona and Her Father and Ramona Quimby, Age 8 were named 1978 and 1982 Newbery Honor Books, respectively.
Among Mrs. Cleary's other awards are the American Library Association's 1975 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, the Catholic Library Association's 1980 Regina Medal, and the University of Southern Mississippi's 1982 Silver Medallion, all presented in recognition of her lasting contribution to children's literature. In addition, Mrs. Cleary was the 1984 United States author nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award, a prestigious international award.
Equally important are the more than 35 statewide awards Mrs. Cleary's books have received based on the direct votes of her young readers. In 2000, to honor her invaluable contributions to children's literature, Beverly Cleary was named a "Living Legend" by the Library of Congress. This witty and warm author is truly an international favorite. Mrs. Cleary's books appear in over twenty countries in fourteen languages and her characters, including Henry Huggins, Ellen Tebbits, Otis Spofford, and Beezus and Ramona Quimby, as well as Ribsy, Socks, and Ralph S. Mouse, have delighted children for generations. And her popularity has not diminished.

Thanks so much for visiting Cindy Reads A Lot for MMGM! 

Here are the links: 

-Shannon Messenger's website/MMGM, click HERE

-Info on the Ramona series/Beverly Cleary's website, click HERE

~Cindy (Sorry if there are any errors!)

A Long Walk To Water (MMGM)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

I know I enjoy a lot of books, but I think this one has made it up to my Favorites list. :-) Introducing...

A LONG WALK TO WATER! As I've admitted many times before, I'm not really a fan of non-fiction books. So I surprised myself by reading this one and really enjoying this. Here's some info about A LONG WALK TO WATER. 

  • Age Recommended: 10 - 12 years
  • Page Count: 128 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (October 4, 2011)

"The New York Times bestseller A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the "lost boys" of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way."

As you can see, this one is on the short side, but Linda Sue Park sure knows how to get to her point fast, so no need to worry about missing out on major events from the story. 

And I just wanted to add, ISN'T THE COVER LOVELY?! I love of all of the colors, the simple-ness (Is that a thing?), the title font, the sun in the corner, the silhouette! I'm no artist, but I can tell you that this cover work is one of the best of the best.

Here 5 Reasons to Read (And Love) A LONG WALK TO WATER 

  • The two points of view. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. I love this reason so much.  This book is WAY different from other books that are in two points of view, because one is told in 2008 (Nya) and the other one is told in 1985 (Salva). 
  • You learn a ton about Southern Sudan and the war that was going on there. I never knew that there was fighting in villages and people had to walk hundreds of miles to refugees. Scary! And I also did not know that there was a place in Africa called Southern Sudan. Oops. So you learn a LOT of stuff. 
  • Details, details, and details. This story is told in EXTREME detail. Not too much that it makes you want to go to sleep, but just the right amount so that you feel as if you're there with Nya and Salva. It's slightly violent (because of all the war), but I would definitely recommend it for anyone 10 and older. Here's a sample. “The rain, the mad current, the bullets, the crocodiles, the welter of arms and legs, the screams, the blood." If you don't think that you or someone else can't handle the rest of the story, I wouldn't recommend reading this one. 
  • The characters. Salva is a real person. He makes some seriously hard decisions in the story that it's hard to believe that he's even real. But he is. This story is perfection. 
  • #1 Best Seller in Children's History Fiction. No question's asked, no explanation needed. 


Here's a quick bio about the awesome author of A LONG WALK TO WATER, Linda Sue Park! 

Linda Sue Park is the author of the Newbery Medal book A Single Shard, many other novels, several picture books, and most recently a book of poetry: Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems). She lives in Rochester, New York, with her family, and is now a devoted fan of the New York Mets.

Thanks so much joining me for MMGM! Have a nice week! :-)


The links: 

  • Linda Sue Park's website, click HERE
  • More about Salva and who he is now, click HERE. (Warning: Major spoilers!) 
  • Shannon Messenger's website/MMGM links, click HERE

Dani Noir (MMGM)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Welcome to MMGM! This week I'm featuring DANI NOIR, by Nova Ren Suma. It's an amazing book with an amazing cover. Check it out: 

  • Age Recommended: 11 - 14 years
  • Page Count: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin; 1 edition (September 22, 2009)
  • Type: Hardcover

"If this were a movie, you'd open to the first page of this book and be transported to a whole other world. Everything would be in black and white, except maybe for the girl in pink polka-dot tights, and this really great music would start to swell in the background. All of a sudden, you wouldn't be able to help it -- you'd be a part of the story, you'd be totally sucked in. You'd be in this place, filled with big lies, mysterious secrets, and a tween girl turned sleuth.... 

Zoom in on thirteen-year-old Dani Callanzano. It's the summer before eighth grade, and Dani is stuck in her nothing-ever-happens town with only her favorite noir mysteries at the Little Art movie theater to keep her company. 

But one day, a real-life mystery begins to unravel -- at the Little Art! And it all has something to do with a girl in polka-dot tights.... Armed with a vivid imagination, a flair for the dramatic, and her knowledge of all things Rita Hayworth, Dani sets out to solve the mystery, and she learns more about herself than she ever though she could."

So the deal with Dani (the main character), is that she is in love with noir movies, which are movies that are done in completely black and white. Her favorite "femme fatale" is Rita Hayworth. On day, she finds herself stuck in a serious, real-life mystery. Dani plays detective and puts herself in Rita's shoes. What would Rita Hayworth do?

I think the reason why this book stood out to me so much was because of Nova Ren Suma's style of writing. It's different from any other book I've read because there was a lot of going back and forth between the noir movies and what Dani is up to. I think I would've enjoyed this one a lot more if I'd watched those movies. 

Here are: 

5 Reasons Why You Should Read (And Love) DANI NOIR: 
  • It's about normal girl. Many books these days have characters that are stereotyped and fake. This is about a normal thirteen-year old girl detective. She's has her own personality that makes her different and unique in the best way. She's not boring, but she's definitely not the same as anyone else. 
  • The lesson. There's a liar. There's a cheater. There's a shy person. There's a curious person. There's a harmless person. And then there's a plain old person-person. The lesson in this book is that "Nobody is who they claim to be." Totally mysterious, I know. 
  • The cover. It's absolutely amazing. I love it. I need to show you guys the back. It doesn't really make sense unless you read the book which is yet another good reason you should read it! 
The left side is the back and the right side is the front, if you haven't figured it out yet. Isn't it sooooo pretty???

  • The perfect transitions. This book flows very nicely. The writing was clearly stated and I wasn't confused for a second! I would recommend this book for anyone who is craving a not-too-long-but-not-too-short read. It's perfect! 
  • The cool relations between Dani's life and the noir movies. I'll admit, I don't really watch noir movies, but if you do, you can totally relate to this book and trust me, YOU'LL REALLY REALLY LIKE IT. (Even if you don't watch noir movies, I would still recommend you do read this one. ) :-) 
My rating...

...Perfection. (I love that pic ^^^) 

About Nova Ren Suma: 

Nova Ren Suma is the author of the YA novels THE WALLS AROUND US as well as the YA novels IMAGINARY GIRLS and 17 & GONE, which were both named 2014 Outstanding Books for the College Bound by YALSA. Her middle-grade novel, DANI NOIR, was reissued for a YA audience under the title FADE OUT. She has a BA in writing & photography from Antioch College and an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and has been awarded fiction fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Millay Colony, and an NEA fellowship for a residency at the Hambidge Center. She worked for years behind the scenes in publishing, at places such as HarperCollins, Penguin, Marvel Comics, and RAW Books, and now she teaches writing workshops. She is from various small towns across the Hudson Valley and lives and writes in New York City.

Thanks so much for joining me for MMGM and I hope you have a nice week! :-)


The links: 

-Nova Ren Suma's website, click HERE

-Shannon Messenger's website/MMGM's, click HERE

Trading Faces: Mini Reviews (MMGM)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Hi everyone! I didn't think that I could fit in a review for this week, but I made it! First things first, I wanted to wish you guys all a slightly late Fourth of July! I spent mine playing outside with my cousins, and unfortunately not actually reading the book I was planning to review today. Oops. Second, I'm going to be adding a fun would you rather question down below and I would love to hear which one you'd choose in the comments! Okay, so that was a rather long introduction, so let's get started!

This week, I'm reviewing the Trading Faces series. The books are about twins and WRITTEN BY TWINS! Isn't that awesome? Check them out: 


On the first day of seventh grade, twin sisters Payton and Emma have been assigned entirely different schedules - for the first time ever. Without telling anyone, the twins switch places: Cool Payton goes incognito as quiet Emma, while mathlete Emma impersonates fashionista Payton. 

No one - from their new teachers to their clueless classmates - realizes they have made a switch. The twins quickly find out that playing a different role in life can be a lot of fun - and that no one is exactly the person the rest of the world thinks they are.

  • Age Range: 9 - 13 years
  • Series: M!x
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin; Reprint edition (December 22, 2009)


Twin sisters Payton and Emma have learned that "trading faces" can lead to "twin-dentical" chaos, and they've promised never to do it again. But just to be sure that they've really learned their lesson, the school counselor has a punishment in store, and they're not going to be sitting through detention -- or hyperventilating through detention, in Emma's case. Instead, Emma's tutoring a math-hating eight-year-old boy who brings a creepy reptile to every lesson. Meanwhile, Payton has to keep an eye on his brother and help the drama club with their musical -- but she's not going to be onstage, she'll be under it! Oh! And the boys? They're identical twins too.... 

When things start spinning out of control, will it take another twin switch to sort it out? And just how many switches are going on at once? In the end, it's good to have a twin who's got your back as well as your face!

Age Range: 9 - 13 years
  • Series: mix
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin; Reprint edition (December 21, 2010)


Everyone's favorite dynamic duo is back for more twin-tastical adventures! 

Identical twin sisters Payton and Emma Mills have "traded faces" and caused "twin-dentical chaos" at school and at home. Now they are off to "twin-vade" New York City! Payton's drama club is going to see an Off-Broadway show, and Emma's mathlete team is competing in an elite competition. But Payton never imagines the star of the show would be an old nemesis, and Emma struggles to keep her mind on math when there are so many distractions. (Ox crushing on another girl? The hotel pool!) Then they have to rescue each other and pull off another "twinsformation"... but is the big city ready for Payton and Emma's mixed up mayhem? 

  • Age Range:
     9 - 13 years
  • Series: M!x
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin; Reprint edition (December 20, 2011)


After their adventures in New York City, identical twins Payton and Emma Mills thought life would go back to normal. For Emma that means competing in the upcoming Geobee - and beating her arch-nemesis, Jazmine James! And for Payton it's all about proving to her parents that she can be in both Drama Club and VOGS while keeping up her grades. But then the unimaginable happens: The twins are chosen to appear in a commercial for Teen Sheen shampoo! 

Suddenly it's "Good-bye, everyday life" and "Hello, Hollywood!" But of course there are surprises in store - specifically, Ashlynn (Payton’s camp nemesis), a supercute boy singer, and a cutthroat movie star wannabe...which means more twin-sanity. It’s bright lights, swimming pools, movie stars, and twin-switches galore! 

  • Age Range: 9 - 13 years
  • Series: mix
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin; Reprint edition (December 18, 2012)


When Payton and Emma take on a trio of triplets at the Twin Festival, it’s double—make that triple—the twin-switch fun!

Emma and Payton are home from Hollywood, but the drama continues: Not only is the Homecoming Dance coming up fast, but there’s someone new in school! Three someones, actually: triplets. Oliver, Dexter, and Asher look exactly the same, dress exactly the same, and—worse—have exactly the same superior attitude.

When the triplets mention they’re participating in a regional Twins & SuperTwins Festival that has a Tweens Division and twin-related contests, Payton and Emma are instantly interested. Emma’s been suffering from competition withdrawal ever since Jazmine James managed to get her disqualified from the upcoming science fair, so she’s got her game face on. And once Payton convinces Mrs. Burkle that the festival is perfect for a VOGScast field trip, the whole gang takes a road trip and the games really get going. But attempts to take down the triplets threaten to land everyone in hot water. Can Emma and Payton switch their way out of trouble, or are they stuck in a multiples mess? 

Age Range: 9 - 13 years
  • Series: M!x
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin; Reprint edition (January 7, 2014)

Things to Like About The TRADING FACES series: 

  • It's written by twins.  Who knows more about twins than twins? The authors are twins and they can probably write about twins better than people who aren't twins. Does that make any sense? 
  • The awesome plot.  Yes, they trade faces, switch places, and cause all sorts of sheenanigans. What's not to like about these two? 
  • The two points of view. I think it's pretty obvious, but I love this reason. We get to see both Emma and Payton's points of view. It's pretty awesome, because we find out that twins aren't mind readers. Also: We get to see the life of the smart twin, and the life of the fashionable twin. Who knew that twins could be so different and so alike at the same time? Not me! 

And now, for the epic question I was promising... 

Would you rather have a dragon or be a dragon?

Dun, dun, DUN!!! 

What's your answer? Let me know down below! 

Thanks so much for joining me for this wonderful MMGM and I hope you have a nice week! :-)