Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit- The Face On The Milk Carton (Janie Johnson #1)

The Face on the Milk Carton (Janie Johnson, #1)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

The face on the milk carton looks like an ordinary little girl: hair in tight pigtails, a dress with a narrow white collar, a three-year-old who was kidnapped more than twelve years ago from a shopping mall in New Jersey.

As fifteen-year-old Janie Johnson stares at the milk carton, she feels overcome with shock. She knows that little girl is she. But how could it be true?

Janie can’t believe that her loving parents kidnapped her, until she begins to piece together clues that don’t make sense. Why are there no pictures of Janie before she was four? Her parents have always said they didn’t have a camera. Now that explanation sounds feeble. Something is terribly wrong, and Janie is afraid to find out what happened more than twelve years ago.

In this gripping page-turner, the reader will unravel — as Janie does — the twisted events that changed the lives of two families forever.

Thoughts:

For some reason, I didn’t read this book when I was younger. I remember it being on my radar which is why I picked it for a kid-lit choice. I didn’t realise it was more of a YA read. I used to love Caroline B. Cooney’s writing which is another reason why I wanted to pick it up.

It centres around Janie, who realises her face is on a milk carton. The milk carton shows children that have been kidnapped. Janie can’t believe that the people she calls her parents could have kidnapped her. Then she starts to put pieces together. She wonders about her birth certificate, photos and her past. The explanations that her parents give don’t sit right with Janie and she tries desperately to unravel the truth.

This book barely took me any time to read at all. It’s less than 200 pages, so it’s easy enough to whip through. It’s action packed too. I feel like there could have been much more made of the plot. The plot itself is terrifying and exciting, but I didn’t really get that from the writing.

I am glad I read this book, but I personally don’t see myself carrying on with the series. I was a little surprised by the writing, I used to really love the author’s writing, as I mentioned. However, I think there are far superior YA books out there now. I do think this book is worth reading for an interesting plot line… I would just not expect too much.

For Beth’s wonderful review, check out her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Next up in the Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit (July):
Murder Most Unladylike- Robin Stevens

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Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit- The Wide Window (A Series Of Unfortunate Events #3)

The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #3)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The Bad Beginning
The Reptile Room

Synopsis:

Dear Reader,

If you have not read anything about the Baudelaire orphans, then before you read even one more sentence, you should know this: Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are kindhearted and quick-witted; but their lives, I am sorry to say, are filled with bad luck and misery. All of the stories about these three children are unhappy and wretched, and this one may be the worst of them all. If you haven’t got the stomach for a story that includes a hurricane, a signalling device, hungry leeches, cold cucumber soup, a horrible villain, and a doll named Pretty Penny, then this book will probably fill you with despair. I will continue to record these tragic tales, for that is what I do. You, however, should decide for yourself whether you can possibly endure this miserable story.

With all due respect,

Lemony Snicket

Thoughts:

We have been visiting A Series of Unfortunate Events as part of our kid-lit challenge for the past 2 years. It was a given that the third book would be on the list for this year. I really enjoyed this one. Beth and I didn’t read these books growing up and I’m sad that we didn’t. I totally think we would’ve loved them. I know my nephew enjoys the Netflix show and I’m somewhat intrigued to watch it… but I always feel I should read the books first. I know, I know… I’m weird.

I loved following the Baudelaire siblings tale in this latest instalment. It’s as dark and as sinister as the other two books. Violet, Klaus and Sunny are taken to live with another relative that they hadn’t met before. They come across the terrible Count Olaf once more…in disguise. It is a completely strange story which I’m absolutely captivated by. It’s so over the top but so wonderful at the same time.

The adult characters in this book seem to make awful decisions but I think that’s almost the beauty of the book? It shows children that adults don’t always make the right choices. They can be scared and unsure too.

In the previous two books, the constant defining of words within the narration bugged me, but it wasn’t really in this book. However the meaning of what Sunny babbled was suggested by the author. This didn’t grate on me as much as the defining did, but reading from an adult’s eyes, it does come across as a little repetitive. This is my only complaint really about the story, which otherwise I think is a delightful reading experience!

For Beth’s wonderful review, please check out her blog, HERE.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Next up in the Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit Challenge (June):
The Face On The Milk Carton- Caroline B.Cooney

Beth and Chrissi Do Kit Lit- Ratburger

Ratburger

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

“Meet Zoe. She’s got a lot of things to be unhappy about:
* Her stepmother Sheila is so lazy she asks Zoe to pick her nose for her.
* The school bully Tina Trotts makes her life a misery – mainly by flobbing on her head.
* And on top of it all, the dastardly Burt has terrible plans for her pet rat.

I can’t tell you what those plans are, but there’s a clue in the title of this book…”

Thoughts:

I really enjoy David Walliams’ writing, so I try to ensure we have one on our reading list for the kid-lit challenge. Being a primary school teacher, I love reading current children’s literature to find perfect, modern stories for them. As much as they love Roald Dahl, they adore David Walliams too. He really is the closest thing to Roald Dahl than the man himself.

Ratburger tells the story of a girl called Zoe. She’s having a tough time at school. She comes from a poor background, she’s small and an instant target for bullies. Zoe lives with her father and her awful stepmother, Sheila. Zoe’s dad has lost his job and spends most of the time in the pub. Zoe is left at home, with the lazy stepmother, living in a leaning tower block of flats. Zoe’s hamster has just died. She was convinced that she was going to find fame with her hamster as she had spent some time training it. When Zoe comes across a baby rat, she knows she won’t have to give up on her dreams. However, Zoe has to keep Armitage (the rat) away from her terrible stepmother and Burt an evil burger van driver which gives the story a much darker twist.

I felt like Ratburger had some amazing characters in the story. Zoe was wonderful and a fantastic character to follow. Burt and Sheila are so awful that it’s fun to read about them. I always love Raj, the newsagent, who appears in so many of David’s books. I also loved the school teacher, Miss Midge. I love how David Walliams wrote her character. God knows I love a terrible teacher in a story!

I love David Walliams’ books because there are moments that really make you smile or laugh out loud. I also love how there’s something in there for the adults that are reading the book to a child. I’ve noticed with David’s books that some comments can be a bit risque but only if you know the meaning behind it. It goes over most children’s heads.

The reason why I love David Walliams’ books is that they can encourage the most reluctant of readers. They’re genuinely a joy to read out to children. I could easily see myself reading this to a class and it is a definite contender for a class book come September. David’s books also give me inspiration for teaching. There’s so much that can be done with this book if you’re reading it as a class read! 🙂 It made this teacher very happy.

For Beth’s wonderful review, please check out her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Next up in the Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit Challenge (May):
The Wide Window (A Series Of Unfortunate Events #3)-Lemony Snicket

Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit- The Girl of Ink and Stars

The Girl of Ink and Stars

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Forbidden to leave her island, Isabella Riosse dreams of the faraway lands her father once mapped.

When her closest friend disappears into the island’s Forgotten Territories, she volunteers to guide the search. As a cartographer’s daughter, she’s equipped with elaborate ink maps and knowledge of the stars, and is eager to navigate the island’s forgotten heart.

But the world beyond the walls is a monster-filled wasteland – and beneath the dry rivers and smoking mountains, a legendary fire demon is stirring from its sleep. Soon, following her map, her heart and an ancient myth, Isabella discovers the true end of her journey: to save the island itself.

Thoughts:

I was really excited when this book was picked as part of our kid-lit challenge. It has been on my radar for quite some time now and this challenge gave me an opportunity to get around to it. For me, this is a solid middle grade read. I started off really loving it, but my enthusiasm waned after a while.

It centres around Isabella who is a cartographer’s daughter. Isabella dreams of lands that her father once mapped. It takes her close friend disappearing for her to begin to explore the world outside of her island. Isabella wants to guide the search. She has knowledge of ink maps and wants to help find her dear friend. The world beyond the island isn’t what she expected at all. Isabella soon encounters things that she thought were just myths are really true.

I loved reading about Isabella’s adventures. I enjoyed the old stories involved within this story. I felt like this made the story very unique. However, I found it really hard to connect to Isabella as a character. There wasn’t anything wrong with her, a perfectly nice character, I just didn’t find myself rooting for her. I actually preferred Lupe, who I found to be incredibly quirky.

I did enjoy how this book was centred around friendship and family. I love books that have friendship at the heart of it. I found Isabella and Lupe’s friendship to be genuine. It was up and down which is totally relatable. As I’ve mentioned before on my blog, I really like books that have strong female characters, especially in middle grade. I think a lot of the time books have male characters as the heroes and we need a better balance!

I thought Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s writing was easy to read and imaginative. I can certainly see why it won the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Awards. There’s so much for children to get stuck into and enjoy.

For Beth’s wonderful review, check out her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

Next up in the Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit Challenge (End of April):
Ratburger- David Walliams

Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit- Matilda

Matilda

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Matilda is a sweet, exceptional young girl, but her parents think she’s just a nuisance. She expects school to be different but there she has to face Miss Trunchbull, a kid-hating terror of a headmistress. When Matilda is attacked by the Trunchbull she suddenly discovers she has a remarkable power with which to fight back. It’ll take a superhuman genius to give Miss Trunchbull what she deserves and Matilda may be just the one to do it!

Thoughts:

I have so much love for the book Matilda. It has to be one of my most favourite Roald Dahl books, if not my favourite. Argh. I just love it so much. I have reread it recently, because I read it to my first ever class. I do intend to read it to my current class too, after our current class book.

If you don’t know the story of Matilda (where have you been?) it’s about a exceptionally gifted girl. Her parents think she’s the most irritating child ever. Matilda is desperate to go to school and learn. She doesn’t expect to be facing an awful headmistress who takes an immediate disliking to her. The Trunchbull is an awful headmistress. She thrives on punishing and hurting children. Matilda wants to teach her a lesson once and for all.

I remember having such fond memories of reading Matilda when I was younger. I can’t even recall how many times I reread it. Going back to it, even after reading it fairly recently was such a lovely, heart-warming experience for me. This book just fills me with joy even though there are bloomin’ terrible characters. I love to hate Mr and Mrs Wormwood and the evil Miss Trunchbull.

I was struck by how things are a little different in the film. Mrs Wormwood in the book is rather a curvy lady but she isn’t as much in the film. There’s also more play on Matilda’s powers, which I can imagine does make the film that little bit more magical. It is just as dark though. I hated the way Matilda was spoken to. Evil parents! I thought that Miss Honey’s back story was much more fleshed out and upsetting in the book. I can’t believe Roald Dahl got away with writing such dark stuff for children, but it certainly didn’t do me any harm.

I really do believe there is no writer like Roald Dahl. His books make me so happy. I would love to reread more in the future as part of this feature!

For Beth’s wonderful review, please check out her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:
Without a doubt!

Next up in Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit Challenge (March):
The Girl Of Ink And Stars- Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Beth and Chrissi Do Kid Lit-The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader (The Chronicles of Narnia #5)

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Chronicles of Narnia, #3)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Lucy and Edmund, with their dreadful cousin Eustace, get magically pulled into a painting of a ship at sea. That ship is the Dawn Treader, and on board is Caspian, King of Narnia. He and his companions, including Reepicheep, the valiant warrior mouse, are searching for seven lost lords of Narnia, and their voyage will take them to the edge of the world. Their adventures include being captured by slave traders, a much-too-close encounter with a dragon, and visits to many enchanted islands, including the place where dreams come true.

Thoughts:

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe will forever be my favourite Narnia book. I have to admit that I haven’t been the biggest fan of the other books in the series. Don’t get me wrong, they’re easy enough to read, it’s just something about them that I don’t seem to connect with as much as other readers do. That said, I enjoyed The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader. 

The story starts with Lucy and Edmund Pevensie returning to Narnia. However, this time they had their rather annoying cousin Eustace alongside. I did miss Peter and Susan at the start but soon I adapted to the change and enjoyed reading the story with Lucy, Edmund and Eustace. In this story, they are thrown from the ‘real’ world into the ocean that borders Narnia. They are taken on board the Dawn Voyager and reunited with characters such as Caspian from the previous story. Reepicheep also makes an entrance! All of the crew are journeying to try and discover more about their world and stepping into the mighty Aslan’s country.

This story does have an interesting plot, but for me it took a little too long to get going. As soon as the adventure really began it did make it easier to read! I did appreciate how Eustace changed though. It’s great to see that in a children’s book.

I don’t think I ever completed this series as a child so it’s interesting to read it as an adult. I particularly like finding the moral to the story as there often seems to be with this Narnia series. I do find C.S Lewis to be a little preachy for my liking and that’s why I think I don’t enjoy his books as much as others. Perhaps if I could get past that then I could enjoy them more!

For Beth’s wonderful review, please check out her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Next up in the Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit Challenge (February):
Matilda- Roald Dahl

Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit- The 2018 books are revealed!

2018 brings yet another year of Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit, which has been a fun feature on our blog! As usual, Beth and I have picked 6 books each.

Here are the choices…my choices are in purple, Beth’s in red!

JANUARY – The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader -C.S. Lewis

FEBRUARY- Matilda-Roald Dahl

MARCH – The Girl Of Ink And Stars- Kiran Millwood Hargrave 

APRIL- Ratburger- David Walliams

MAY – The Wide Window (A Series Of Unfortunate Events #3)-Lemony Snicket

JUNE- The Face On The Milk Carton-Caroline B. Cooney

JULY – Murder Most Unladylike- Robin Stevens

AUGUST- The Creakers- Tom Fletcher

SEPTEMBER – Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing -Judy Blume

OCTOBER- Nightbirds on Nantucket  (The Wolves Chronicles #3)- Joan Aiken

NOVEMBER – Number The Stars- Lois Lowry

DECEMBER- Time Travelling With A Hamster- Ross Welford

Have you read any of this books? Can you spot a favourite in there? Let us know!