Welcome to the Reading Room update with reviews for books on the shelves for children up to the age of twelve.
The first author with a review is Miriam Hurdle for her first children’s book Tina Lost in a Crowd t
About the book
Tina invited her friend Erica to attend a popular Tchaikovsky’s Spectacular concert on a summer evening with her parents. During the intermission, her dad left the seat to buy some snacks. Tina and Erica followed him wanting to use the restroom. The shoving crowd pushed them away, and they lost sight of him. It would be impossible to fight through the 18,000 people to find him or go back to Tina’s mom. What would the girls do?
This story tells about what happened to Tina and Erica after they got lost. Children can adapt to the learning from different situations they may observe or encounter. Adults could have discussions with the children about the situations to help them develop problem-solving skills.
One of the recent reviews for the book
Third grader, Tina Tyler, looks forward to summer. It is the last day of classes, and she has had such a great school year that she hopes the next year will pair her with her teacher, Mrs. Jackson, who stands outside smiling and waving goodbye to her students and reminds Tina that the fourth grade will be a new adventure, a prospect that Tina readily embraces.
Tina is the exuberant sort, and when her mother takes her home to officially begin summer break, the two sit down at the kitchen table and prepare a ten-point list of best case scenario summer activities, and thus the merits of planning are demonstrated to the reader. Tina is excited by the prospects of swimming and asks her mother if she can host a sleepover party for her friends, which her mother encourages because it is important to be appreciative of one’s friends.
In a delightful surprise for Tina, Mrs. Tyler tells her daughter there will be an outdoor concert at the Hollywood Bowl where an orchestra will play Tina’s favorite music: Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake. Tina, wanting to include her best friend, asks if she may invite Erica, and when her mother says yes, Tina jumps for joy and claps her hands.
There is much to look forward to at the concert, and Tina’s parents take her and Erica on a two hour train ride to the outdoor event, which will include a picnic and culminate in a fireworks display more resplendent than any Tina has seen prior.
But one has to be prepared for the unexpected, and when in dire circumstances, a child does well to remember the wise counsel of their parents, so when Tina and Erica discover they are lost in a crowd of thousands of people, Erica despairs, until Tina says, “We should stay here. I remember Mom told me a long time ago that if I could not see her, stay where I am, and she would come to find me.”
Miriam Hurdle’s Tina Lost in a Crowd is a joyous, vibrantly illustrated parable designed to depict the safety and security that comes from listening to and trusting one’s parents. In seamless companionship with the gorgeous artwork of Victoria Skakandi, it demonstrates that having a plan to resort to when in the grips of uncertainty will lead to a certain solution where all will be well.
Also by Miriam Hurdle for adults
The next author with a review is Darlene Foster for her recently released book Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady.
About the book
Amanda receives a postcard from her best friend, Leah, and is surprised to learn that she is in Malta with her aunt. Reading between the lines, she senses Leah is in trouble. Desperate to help her, Amanda travels to Malta with her classmate Caleb and his parents.
Amanda is intrigued by this exotic island in the middle of the Mediterranean, full of colourful history, sun-drenched limestone fortresses, stunning beaches and fascinating birds. But…who is killing the protected birds? Who stole a priceless artifact from the museum? And why is Leah acting so strange? She couldn’t possibly be involved in these illegal activities, or could she?
Join Amanda and her friends as they visit ancient temples, an exciting falconry and the enchanting Popeye Village, as they try to get to the bottom of the mystery of the Sleeping Lady.
A recent review for for the book
This book continues the excellent children’s book travel series featuring twelve year old Amanda as she visits remote locations, where she joins us in learning about history and culture, and manages to also squeeze in time for adventures and solving a mystery or two.
In this book, Amanda visits the beautiful Mediterranean archipelago of Malta, (including the island of Malta as well as the smaller islands of Gozo and Comino) with her friend Caleb and his parents.
Full disclosure: my parents are Maltese and I lived in Malta for a few years, beginning when I was twelve years old too. Given that Amanda and my nostalgia would be so heavily in synch, it is no surprise that I was definitely curious to read this book. The good news is that I was delighted to find Amanda’s perspective of Malta, as well as the snippets of history and travelogue provided, not only interesting and wonderfully researched but presented in a fun and lively manner that I’m sure middle school children will enjoy as well as take learnings back from.
Amanda and her friends visit all the expected tourist locations in Malta, including (amongst other stops on this tour) the walled capital city of Valletta, the ancient ruins of Hagar Qim, the caves of Ghar Dalam, the historical Mosta dome cathedral, and the underground temple known as the Hypogeum. They also sample local cuisine (including everyone’s favourite Maltese pastizzi pastries), and experience the azure splendor of the waters and caves of the Blue Grotto.
To complement the story, Amanda’s motivation for visiting Malta is driven by her need to help her friend Leah out of a jam and the plot of this book thus nicely interweaves learning about the islands with an element of mystery and danger that is sure to delight modern day Nancy Drew fans.
A selection of other books by Darlene Foster
The final author today with a new review is Kathleen Jae for Elanora and the Salt Marsh Mystery
About the book
After a series of terrifying events, Elanora is transported to a strange neighborhood where the only way to get about is by water and the only food to eat is the grasses of the marsh. Her newfound guardians do their best to help her adapt, but the food is odd and unappetizing, and she feels isolated and alone. The colony of muskrats who live in the marsh refuse to accept the young chipmunk and ignore her each time they gather to eat at night. In her former home, Elanora spent most days exploring, but her guardians insist she sleep like the rest of the colony. After she learns about an enormous gray creature that swims in the deeper part of the marsh, Elanora sets off one day to find him. When the sea cow tells her about the marsh’s troubles, Elanora begins her investigation into the mysterious lowering of water levels and the suffering of the swimming creatures. Despite relentless attempts of intimidation from some younger members of the colony, Elanora, along with an elder, piece together clues that lead to a terrifying conclusion. Elanora and the Salt Marsh Mystery sheds light on two important topics: the impact of bullying and the consequences of the destruction of ecosystems. It’s a tale that explores the importance of diversity and celebrates one youngster’s fight to be heard.
One of the recent reviews for the book
This is a cute, fun book to read. Young readers will enjoy spending time getting to know Elanora and the rest of the critters like Akira, Tam, and Beathas to name a few. I know that I sure had an enjoyable time reading this book. As an older reader, I did reconize the underlining lesson of environmental impacts on places like the salt marsh. Yet, younger readers may not pick up on this. However, this book is one that the family can read together and use as a lesson.
My favorites are Elanora and Beathas. You have the young and the wise. All of the various different creatures that Elanora met were great to get to know. I could picture everyone in my head. It was like the whole story was playing out as a movie in my head. Where Beathas is concerned. She is an elder and very wise. She helped Elanora along the way. As I stated previously, this book is one that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Also by Kathleen Jae for parents of children with autism
Thanks very much for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.