The 5th Grade Review Club Presents: The Friendship Matchmaker by Randa Abdel-Fattah

friendshipmatchmakerReviewed by Mikala

The Friendship Matchmaker is about a girl named Lara Zany. Lara has specific ways of trying to help people make friends: she listens to what they like and finds them a friend based on that. She finds people one or three friends to form a bond with (never two). She also gives advice on what to wear to school and what to read in school. She even wrote a guide about what to do when you are trying to make friends. Then a new girl named Emily comes. She was breaking all of Laraʼs rules: her clothes her books, everything! So Lara goes and tells her kindly what she is doing wrong. Emily explains why sheʼs wearing what she is, and that she isn’t going to change. Then she criticizes Laraʼs methods of helping people find friends. Lara has had enough! She and Emily decide to have a competition to see who can assign the girl they pick a true friend. Lara picks a girl named Tanya to help, but then Lara starts to like Tanya as a friend. Who will be Tanyaʼs best friend? Who will win the friendship competition? Read The Friendship Match Maker to find the answers to these questions.

Sounds like a great summer read! What’s on your list? Coming Soon: Summer Reading Recommendations from members of the 5th Grade Review Club!

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The 5th Grade Review Club Presents: THE GREAT GREENE HEIST by Varian Johnson

Reviewed by Adedayo
great-greene-heist-cover

Jackson Greene is a supporter — and a big one — of the word allegedly. He is what many teachers call a troublemaker. But he has left his old ways of being a trickster behind — or has he? When duty calls, Jackson’s mission is to face his arch nemesis, KEITH. Jackson and his brainiac friends try to stop Keith from cheating in the school’s election. However, Keith has the advantage. He is very popular with the teachers at his and Jackson’s school, especially Dr. Kelsey. But back to Jackson.
One of his best friends, named Gabriela is rather… Okay, very attractive. As the book progresses, Jackson struggles with beating his arch nemesis, getting a girl, and most of all… Pulling off THE GREAT GREENE HEIST!

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes books that have a clear story “mountain” outline, but this particular book is never boring, and has a climax in every chapter. And now I only have one more thing to say; GET OUT THERE, AND GET READING!

Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

Reviewed by Eoin
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In this book by Kate DiCamillo, a young girl named Flora sees her neighbor being pulled across the lawn by a super-fast, super-sucking vacuum. As she watches, she realizes that her neighbor cannot control the machine and there is a squirrel in their path. The vacuum is going to swallow the unsuspecting squirrel. “Holy bagumba!” she yells. With a poof and a fwump, the squirrel disappears into the vacuum.

Leaping up from her perch in her bedroom window, she run out the door to try to help. Her neighbor is staring at the little tuft of a tail that is the only thing to be seen of the squirrel. Flora yanks the tail and pulls out the squirrel, which appears to be dead. By performing CPR, she brings it back to life. She and her neighbor discover that the squirrel has super-natural powers. She sneaks the creature into her house, naming him Ulysses.

He is very opinionated and has the obedience of a dog.

That may sound more intriguing than I found it. They have more adventures, but it never manages to pull me in.
Unlike the great Because of Winn-Dixie, these characters seem bland and unappealing. The bond between all the characters (including between Flora and Ulysses) feels false and fake. It is not very strong and seems really artificial—no bond of love, friendship, or even hatred. Something. But there was really nothing there.

I started this book with high hopes because I love another one of her books (Because of Winn-Dixie). But I could barely make it through the first 50 pages. I would never discourage anyone from her other writing because she can be exceptional, but in this case, the book seemed so artificial that I never felt like I was in any kind of world or story.

HEY READERS! Has anyone else read this year’s Newbery Award winner? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

The 5th Grade Review Club Presents: Brave Girl and Bindi Babes

Reviews by Ava

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BRAVE GIRL by Michelle Markel

Clara Lemich, a teen, has just started her new hard life in America as a shirtwaist maker. She and all her fellow co-workers work long hours and get paid only a few dollars a month. Now Clara along with all her other co-workers say “STRIKE! Strike for our jobs! Strike! for equality! Strike for our own rights!” Those were the reasons why they were striking. Read the book to find out how Clara deals with the struggles of mistreatment.

I really enjoyed reading how this person Clara Lemich dealt with these struggles through her life and how strong and brave she was. Thanks to so many people like Clara Lemich today almost all girls are treated equally. So girls, you got to stand up, you got to learn to be strong, smart be tough and to everyone, be brave.

BindiBabes

BINDI BABES by Narinder Dhami

Bindi Babes is about three sisters named Amber, Jazz, and Geena. Their dad invites their auntie to come and live with them after their mother died. As soon as their auntie came, she took control of everything and they were surprised when she told their dad what to say. Now they need to get rid of her and the only way to do that is for her to get married. Now the girls have been up and down trying to find her an eligible husband, but that’s not the only problem. Will they be able to get their auntie married and fix all their other problems? Read the book to find out. I really enjoyed this book and I hope you enjoy it too!

The 5th Grade Review Club Presents: Saving Baby Doe by Danette Vigilante

Reviewed by Adedayo

SavingBabyDoe_coverLionel Perez was abandoned by his dad when he was seven years old. At thirteen, he feels anger against his dad; he hates him and considers him a bad example. When Lionel and his best friend Anisa find a baby in a VERY STINKY Porta-Potti, Lionel wants to be a better example than his father. As the book progresses, he becomes attached to this baby, and he feels that it is his job to be the loving father of this baby. He goes past many limits for the well being of this baby, and his relationship with his mom changes for the better. Lionel is like any other middle schooler who has to face tough choices in his life at the Red Hook projects. But a man named Mr. Owen helps him change his ways. Mr. Owen influences Lionel to be brave, be strong, and to make good choices in life. Mr. Owen is like Lionel’s father, and he shares some of the same experiences. His son left him because Mr. Owen used to hit him with a belt buckle because of his choices. And as you will soon see, everyone has at least one thing in their life that they want to change.

I think you would like this book if you enjoy books with suspense, action, and a few red herrings. The book includes many different relationships with many different characters, and it makes it seem like Lionel Perez is a real person living in the Red Hook projects! I like the way she doesn’t make Lionel the perfect little boy, and he makes some BAD choices. But he realizes he made a mistake and he tries to fix it throughout the book. I would give this book a five star rating (although you may find some parts mature, such as the intro, where someone gives birth to a baby. The book also mentions sex in some points.)

The 5th Grade Review Club Presents: Blubber by Judy Blume

Reviewed by Esmé

blubberbyjudyblume“And uh…whale oil is obtained by heating the blubber of the whale”. That is how it all started. Linda Fischer wrote an essay on the whale and in return got the nickname of “Blubber”. Wendy the class president started it. Jill and her best friend Tracy Wu laughed at it. When Blubber stepped on the bus that day “Hi Blubber” was what she got and “Blubbery Blubber…blub, blub, blub” from the girls in the back. Spit balls from boys, tripping from Wendy and her coat was stolen by Jill. All she gets is bullying.

This book has all you need in a fiction book. Suspense, humor, sadness and more. Its humor is great, although it has some curse words. This book takes you through so many adventures, such as Halloween with Tracy, Warren’s Bar-Mitzvah, Jill’s little brother Kenny’s facts! It is great fun.

One of my favorite parts is when they do a prank at Halloween. I can’t tell you more about it, you just have to check it out. I recommend it to readers who enjoy adventure, suspense and fun in their books.

The 5th Grade Review Club Presents: The Unforgotten Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Reviewed By Mikala
unforgottenThe Unforgotten Coat is about a girl named Julie who has a pretty normal life. Then she meets a boy named Chingis and his brother Nergui. They are from Mongolia and recently started going to the school that Julie goes to. The boys call Julie their “good guide” and expect her to look out for them. Nergui believes a monster is looking for him. Nergui says the monster makes things vanish. Nergui and Chingis are very scared of the monster, but Julie doesnʼt believe in the monster. Julie looks out for Chingis and Nergui. For example on “wear youʼre own clothes to school day” (their school has uniforms) she switches clothes with Nergui so the monster wouldnʼt find him. One day she realizes the boys are not in school, so she tries to find them. She finds them in a forest and tries to help them escape the monster. Read more to learn what happens to Julie, Chingis and Nergui in this mysterious novel.

I think this book would appeal to people who enjoy mystery books. People who enjoy following a complicated story line might also enjoy it.

I enjoyed this book because it was very suspenseful. Frank Cottrell Boyce added many descriptions, so you can picture everything as you read the story. I found this book a little confusing at times. I would highly recommend this book to anyone as it has a great mixture of fantasy and reality. So, if you need a book to read stop by the library and check out this awesome book.

The 5th Grade Review Club Presents: One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Reviewed By Mikala
onecrazysummeroldOne Crazy Summer is about a girl and her sisters who live in Brooklyn and go to see their mother, who lives in California. Delphine, who is eleven, and her younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern, are put on an airplane to go visit their mom who left them seven years ago, when Fern was just an infant. If they were expecting a welcome, with lots of hugs and kisses, they could not be more wrong. Their mother, Cecile, showed up at the airport disguised and didnʼt talk to them at all on the way to her house. Their mom isnʼt very nice to them and asks for all the money their dad gave them. When they get to Cecileʼs home she refuses to cook for the girls and makes them go out by themselves in the dark to get food from a little Chinese restaurant. They learn their mom is a poet and campaigns for African American rights. Cecile doesnʼt want them in her home so she sends them to camp at the community center. The camp is run by the Black Panthers. The girls learn about African American leaders who are trying to change the rights of African Americans. The girls start to think for themselves about their rights, and about what they deserve. Delphine begins to understand her mom, but read this book to find out why! This story takes place in the 1960ʼs.onecrazysummer

I think this book would appeal to people who are interested in the Civil Rights movement or people who like challenging story lines. It might also appeal to people who enjoy books with complicated characters.
I think Rita Williams-Garcia did a good job, because I could picture everything when it was happening. I could also relate to Delphine and understand how sheʼs feeling because of all the specific descriptions of Delphineʼs feelings. Sometimes I found this book a little unsettling because of how unmotherly Cecile is, but for the most part I really enjoyed this book.

The Penderwicks Series by Jeanne Birdsall

Reviewed by Eoin

Penderwicks2Allow me to introduce you to…The Penderwicks!

The Penderwick family is made up of one lovable dog, (Hound), one affable father, (Mr. Penderwick), and four very interesting daughters. The youngest one is called Batty, then comes, in order, Jane, Skye, and the eldest is Rosalind. The author of these books, Jeanne Birdsall, doesn’t write in a particularly fast-paced style, but she always keeps her readers on their toes. She manages to suck you into their adventures. These are not fantasy adventures, but they are definitely timeless adventures nonetheless. So much happens in any one book that is it hard to try to summarize, but you can count on fun, excitement, humor, and one really loyal dog.

“For a long time after that summer, the four Penderwick sisters still talked of Arundel. Fate drove us there, Jane would say. No, it was the greedy landlord who sold our vacation house on Cape Cod, someone else would say, probably Skye. Who knew which was right?”

This quote tells you about the difference in the sisters and it also gives a sense of the gentle but also funny and sharp tone the author uses throughout the series.

In the first book, we are introduced to the Penderwick Sisters. During the summer, the sisters rent a small cozy cottage in Arundel. It does not just turn out to be an ordinary vacation. They meet a nice boy, whose mother is a snotty rich woman and her boyfriend is, well, let’s just say even worse. The sisters encounter Jeffrey in a way that is far from ordinary. In spite of his unfortunate connections, the sisters become friends with Jeffrey and there are so many events that happen to them in just one short summer!

The second book takes place once summer is over, during the school year. The news of this book is that now the sisters have concocted The Save Daddy Plan, which means that they are responsible for some horrible, disastrous “fix-ups.” There is frightening talk for the sisters about their father dating, and even more terrifying than that: marriage. By the end, there is a new Save Daddy Plan. To say more would give away the ending, but just be confident that everyone ends up happy, even Hound.Penderwicks[1]

In the latest Penderwick tale, the sisters are split up. Rosalind goes off the beach. That leaves the rest of the sisters to go visit Aunt Clare in Maine. Hound accompanies them, and he refuses to let Batty out of his sight. Skye is really horrified to realize that she is the OAP, oldest available Penderwick. The situation has changed a little, and there is new anxiety about the different roles in the family. Also, there is a surprise appearance from Jeffrey, who stays with them the whole time. This book is as thrilling and full of unexpected twists & turns as the others, but one is special to Jeffrey.

The four Penderwick sisters range in age from four to thirteen, but I highly recommend this series to people of all ages! Kids who are not yet reading at this level would enjoy having the books read aloud. And the great news is that Jeanne Birdsall plans to write more of her fantastic books.

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