Middle Grade New Releases, April 2, 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.

img_7923CATERPILLAR SUMMER – by Gillian McDunn
(April 2nd 2019 ~ Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

Picture and Review by Melissa @mllittleauthor

Go ahead and preorder this one! This is the kind of book I could have read in a day, but my work schedule didn’t agree. Caterpillar Summer introduces us to Cat and Chicken, two nicknamed siblings living in San Francisco with their widowed mother, and plunges us into their world with just the perfect amount of detail as plans fall apart and they find themselves spending the summer with the grandparents they never met. Cat, a serious and guarded little thing, immediately decides not to like her grandparents, who equally promptly make this nearly impossible. As the summer goes on, Cat finds herself scheming to reunite her mother with her estranged, but loving parents.
The best parts of the book for me:
1️⃣Cat herself. Cat was such a refreshing middle-grade character in that she was still such a child and content to be that way. She wanted to ride her bike and go fishing. No boyfriends or drama. Her friendship with Harriet was so cute and I was 100% on board.
2️⃣CHICKEN. 🐔 Oh that little boy. It took me maaaybe six pages to fall in love. I want to just scoop him up and take him to the library and then read about sharks with him in his laundry basket. Just a perfect (but messily realistic) little character.
3️⃣The family-centered story. I am a sucker for these, and some are perfect (Here Today by Ann M. Martin) while others fall flat (ahem, Rules). Caterpillar Summer lands gloriously in the same category as Here Today. Gillian McDunn handled the balance perfectly in that Cat was able to enjoy a friendship, without the family losing their centerpiece in the story.
4️⃣This isn’t necessarily about the story itself, but the cover is SO cute and exactly how I pictured the kids.
By the time this book releases, the weather will be warming and this is the perfect tale to take with you to the lake or the ocean, and to read with the sound of water in your ears. I can’t wait for more people to get their hands on it. You will love it.

LEXIE’S LITTLE LIE – by Emma Shevah
(April 2nd 2019 ~ Sourcebooks Jabberwocky)img_7924

Picture and Review by Kate @kateteaching7and8

Lexie comes from a large and close Greek Cypriot family in London. Her mother and aunt (her mom’s sister) are best friends and their families pretty much do everything together. Lexie’s best friend is her cousin, Eleni. In fact, they’re so close that that the words best friend and cousin aren’t descriptive enough and Lexie prefers to think of them as twins. They were born days apart, but Eleni had a heart problem. They didn’t think she’d make it through the night & they laid baby Lexie next to her. Eleni made it through the night, and the next night, and the next night. They have been inseparable since. When a new girl moves into the neighborhood, Lexie feels her relationship with Eleni is threatened. She then develops a complicated relationship with the truth that leads to a HUGE family fight.

This was a cute middle grade book about when, if ever, is it okay to lie? Lexie’s struggles with her friendship with her cousin and her family are relatable and readers can connect with the feeling of thinking they’re losing a friend and not knowing what to do about it. Additionally, it’s relatable in that we’ve all told lies (some small and harmless and others probably not so much) that we’ve later regretted. Overall, the book acknowledges the struggles related to lying and sends a positive message about telling the truth. The book was engaging & funny, and Lexie is incredibly likable (even if she doesn’t think so). I also loved the illustrations around the pages.

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