Twelve Weeks to Midnight Blue

Chance has his heart set on buying a bike before school starts in the Fall. But he doesn’t just want any bike, he wants Midnight Blue which can be his for a mere $225! With this information Chance sets out to do what any enterprising kid would do: make money. He starts by cleaning his dad’s pool once a week for $10. As his customers increase, he learns about leverage, marketing, business partners, and more during his twelve weeks of summer.

In this first volume of KidVenture, Steve Searfoss takes his reader through the ups and downs of reaching for a goal. Several times Chance wonders if all the work is worth it. Through conversations with his parents and lots of math, Chance will learn just how much work it takes to run a successful business.

Awesomeness:

-The family relationships presented in this story are delightful. Chance has regular conversations with his dad about his business. He also has a personal conversation with his mom. He takes his sister on as a partner.

-Each chapter has 3 discussion questions to allow for conversation about the issues Chance encounters. Readers will have a chance to discuss what they would do or how they would proceed. This book lends itself to being read aloud.

-The book is only 118 pages and written in a way that younger readers can follow.

-A fun story for any enterprising kid!

Cautions:

-Some mild sibling bickering. (But isn’t that real life?)

Just Like That

I picked up this novel straight out of the Junior Library Gild delivery box! The book jacket sounded so good. I will tell you that I have not read any of Gary D. Schmidt’s other works. For you Wednesday War fans, just be prepared for the beginning of this book… my friend threw it across the room!

After the loss of her best friend, Meryl Lee’s parents send her to an all girls’ boarding school. There she will be exposed to societal expectations all the while attempting to become accomplished and still holding on to her personal convictions.

Gary D. Schmidt beautifully weaves two storylines together. While Meryl Lee is figuring out life at an all girls’ prep school, Matt is figuring out how to survive on the move. Finding himself on the Maine coast, Matt is welcomed into Dr. Nora Macknockater’s home. As headmistress of St. Elene’s Preparatory Academy for Girls, she encourages Meryl Lee to stay true to who she is all the while attempting to learn just who Matt is. As the common thread between the two, Dr. Macknockater has a front row seat to see just how things really do change- just like that.

Awesomeness:

-Meryl Lee works through her grief at losing her best friend and finds ways to bring people together despite their differences.

-Matt discovers a true sense of family. The way his story starts out, it reminds me of the Boxcar Children.

Cautions:

-Matt is running from some seriously nasty men. They burn down buildings and hurt people in an attempt to get back what he stole (after they killed his best friend).

-There is a bit of kissing towards the end of the book. And at the end, Meryl Lee and Matt are left alone in a house while the adult supervision leaves on an extended trip.