Rave Reviews Log: Realistic Fiction

June 20, 2011

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette

By Jeanne Birdsall
Rating: 4 1/2 stars

This is the third book in the Penderwicks series, and I for one hope they never come to an end.  It is summer, and for the first time, the Penderwicks are splitting up.  Newlyweds Mr. Penderwick and Iantha with baby Ben are off to England.  Rosalind is going to spend two weeks down on the Jersey shore with her friend.  That leaves Skye, Jane and Batty with Aunt Claire to spend two weeks in a cottage in Maine.  They hoped their dear friend Jeffrey would come, but his mother wouldn't let him go last minute.  Skye must take on the mantle of eldest in charge, which she worries about incessantly, especially about taking care of young Batty.  But once they arrive in Maine, things go both wonderfully right and wrong, as they always seem to do.  Jeffrey does get to come to Point Mouette--hooray! But Jane falls head over heels for the taciturn skateboarder Dominic.  Batty seems to show promise as a musician, but Aunt Claire falls and badly sprains her ankle.  Their musical neighbor Alec becomes a good friend, along with Turron, but why does Alec remind them of someone?  And on and on it goes.  There are laughs and tears, but that's just what you would expect from this family.  Just one more wonderful story about the Penderwicks to add to the list.  It is fun and heartwarming and real all rolled up together, and readers will wish they had friends like the Penderwicks in their lives.


By Kevin Henkes
Rating: 3 3/4 stars

Alice and her parents fly every year from snowy Wisconsin to sunny Sanibel Island in Florida to celebrate her birthday.  She looks forward to the journey and to seeing all the same friends who also come and stay each year.  This year should be extra special because Alice is turning 10 and she really hopes to find a rare junonia shell.  But when they arrive at Scallop cottage, they are immediately hit by the news that some of the regulars won't be there.  Alice has barely swallowed her disappointment when her Aunt Kate arrives with a new boyfriend who has a young daughter named Mallory.  Mallory is reeling from her parents' divorce and acts happily one moment before plunging into tantrums the next.  As the days count down to her birthday, Alice can't help feeling like everything is spiraling out of her control and that the changes life are throwing at her are nothing but one disappointment after another.  Can finding a junonia save her birthday trip?  A quiet story filled with real emotion.

June 13, 2011

Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie

By Julie Sternberg
Rating: 3 3/4 stars

In this pleasant early chapter book, Eleanor is having a very bad August.  The babysitter she's had every day of her life is moving to Florida to help take care of her father.  And her best friend Pearl is off on vacation in Oregon.  How is she going to survive missing Bibi this way?  Her father tries to help by arranging a playdate with Agnes from upstairs--not realizing that Agnes is really mean.  Eleanor writes a letter to Bibi and waits for a reply almost as soon as she mails it.  Then her parents get her a new babysitter--Natalie.  Natalie is as different from Bibi as could be, but sometimes she is just the same, and Eleanor can't stand it.  Will she ever get over missing Bibi?  This is a really great short book about learning how to move on with your life, even while you are missing someone you love.  Perfect for kids just starting to read chapter books on their own with lots of drawings on every page.  Sweet and gentle.