Tag Archives: middle grade

Book Review: The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts

27 Apr

30754002I was finally able to sit down and finish The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts by Avi. Yes, that Avi, the Newbery Award Winner. This story is a combination of adventure and historical fiction and would be the perfect book to give to a reluctant historical fiction reader. The adventure keeps the story moving quickly and London in 1724 is such an interesting backdrop.

I don’t usually like quoting other reviews, but I loved how Goodreads described this story, “High adventure from a master storyteller about one boy’s attempt to fend for himself among cruel orphan masters, corrupt magistrates, and conniving thieves.”

Oliver Cromwell Pitts awakens to a flooded home and his father missing, all he has is a damp note that makes him believe his father went to London because his sister might be in trouble. But, without any money or any real answers, Oliver must deal with being sent to a poorhouse, kidnapped and forced to become a thief and later put on trial for his crimes. Will Oliver be able to find his father and sister in the whole of London? Will he be able to escape his kidnappers? And finally, will he be able to survive his own trial?

Twitter Booktalk (140 characters or less): Oliver’s adventure to London to find the answers to his dad’s disappearance, but an orphan master, a thief and a magistrate get in the way.

Title: The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts
Author: Avi
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Page Number: 313 pgs.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/24/17

24 Apr

I haven’t had any time to read, working 60 hours this week (all weekend included) plus social and familial obligations have kept me from reading pretty much anything. I’m still working through The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts by Avi and it’s not because it’s a bad story, it’s just I’ve had zero time to do anything but work. I’m hoping this week calms down and I can sit down and spend some time reading!


imwayr

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR

Top Ten Tuesday: Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want To Read A Book

18 Apr
  1. Middle Grade
    Middle grade is definitely my wheel house, I love middle grade novels because they’re not afraid to address the “tough topics”, but I like the underlying layer of hope.  YA sometimes is too dark for me!
  2. Historical Fiction
    I grew up devouring historical fiction – I loved Caddy Woodlawn, Little House on the Prairie, all the American Girls books and pretty much anything else. I’m not even particular about what period in history, I love it all!
  3. Diverse Characters
    Find me a book that discusses a culture, religion, disability, race, etc. and I’m happy. I think diversity is so important and I’m enjoying so many of the books that are becoming available that are diverse, but not about diversity.
  4. Magical Realism
    I love books with just a little bit of magic, in a very real world atmosphere. I always say that when a book starts with a map and ends with a glossary of words (usually in a made up language), I’m done!
  5. Realistic Fiction
    I really enjoy realistic fiction middle grade novels – I’m not sure exactly what it is about this specific genre, but I love them. I think I like that kids can see themselves in these novels and relate to these characters or be able to understand their friends and classmates. These books are powerful in creating a safe space for kids to learn.
  6. Fairytale Re-telling
    Tell me a story is a fairytale re-telling and I’ll pick it up right away. I love fractured fairy tales, retellings and everything in between. I think it’s because I already have a familiarity with the story so I get to enjoy the story that much more. It’s like visiting an old friend and not even needing to say anything, but just start up where you last left off.
  7. Coming-of-Age
    I enjoy coming-of-age novels because you can see so much growth in the protagonist. I lean more toward the younger side of coming-of-age and definitely more recently published books over the classics, but it’s a story arc that I enjoy and am always looking out for.
  8. Novels in Verse
    I didn’t read novels in verse as a child, but I really enjoy them as an adult (still in the middle grade age range), because they use language in such a strong way. You have to try really hard to create a novel in verse that is both powerful and accessible and those are my favorite.
  9. Mysteries
    I love mysteries – I grew up reading The Boxcar Children, Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, the usuals. I think the anticipation of trying to solve the crime and the adventure that is involved it what makes this genre work for me.
  10. Art
    I seriously considered an art history minor in college – I love art of all types, painting, photography, ceramics, sculpture, whatever you can find. If a book incorporates art (usually in a mystery), it will automatically get added to my TBR list.


    Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Book

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Unique Books I’ve Read

11 Apr

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  1. Ghost Knight by Cornelia Funke
  2. Nuts To You by Lynne Rae Perkins
  3. Mr. and Mrs. Bunny – Detective Extraordinaire! by Polly Horvath, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
  4. Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Skottie Young
  5. Fake Mustache by Tom Angleberger, illustrated by Jen Wang
  6. The Adventures of a South Pole Pig by Chris Kurtz
  7. Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre
  8. The Underdogs by Sara Hammel
  9. The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
  10. The Boy Who Swam With Piranhas by David Almond, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

    Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Book

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/9/17

10 Apr

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I really enjoyed The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge this week – a mystery story with a fantastical element set in 19th century Victorian England. It’s an interesting look at gender roles at a time when women were not expected or encouraged to be educated. I also, finally, got my hand on The Hate U Give by debut author, Angie Thomas. It’s a story with its roots in the Black Lives Matter movement and was such a real story that I finished in a day and haven’t stopped thinking about yet. There’s talk about books being mirrors and windows and this story is both – a mirror for so many teens growing up in a low-income neighborhood, while it is very much a window for make teens who have never experienced what Starr, the main character, experiences on a daily basis. Angie Thomas writes very much like teens speak and although the language, sexual content, and violence may be too much for more conservative people, this story directly reflects what has been happening across this country and was truly eye-opening and educational for me.  This is a must-read!

I have finally started The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts by Avi and am already enjoying this high adventure, historical fiction story about a boy in search of his family and on the run from a crime he couldn’t help, but commit. I’m not sure what else I plan on reading this week, but I’ve got a bunch of ARCs I still want to finish before summer starts, so most likely I’ll pick up one of those!


imwayr

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR

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