#ThrowbackThursday: Middle Grade Mini-Reviews

mini review

Three mini reviews of three middle grade books!

Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream by Jenny Han

Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream follows Clara Lee, a third grader who hopes to become her town’s Little Miss Apple Pie. With good luck on her side, Clara believes there is no way she can lose. When another girl in her class, whose ancestors founded the town, runs for Little Miss Apple Pie, Clara Lee questions if she is as American as apple pie since she is Korean American.

Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream was a cute fall book that was surprisingly deep. Going into this book, I didn’t expect to uncover a really deep message, but I think Jenny Han did a great job of tackling an interesting theme for younger readers. I loved how Jenny Han used Clara Lee to show that anyone, no matter their background, is a true American and can reach their dreams. I give this book five out of five stars.

Jessica Darling’s It List by Megan McCafferty

Jessica Darling goes to middle school in the It List series by Megan McCafferty. Jessica wasn’t worried about middle school until her older sister gives her a list thatĀ guarantees popularity. Soon, Jessica finds herself with a colorful group of friends, stuck in wood shop with all boys, and feuding with her BFF. Will the list make Jessica popular or will she be doomed to dorkdom?

I haven’t read any of the books from the Jessica Darling series, but I definitely want to after reading this book! Megan McCafferty did the perfect job of capturing the middle school voice and creating characters and situations that are extremely relatable. I think this book is hilarious, but also provides meaningful advice to the book’s target audience. I give this book five out of five stars.

Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer by Megan McDonald

Judy Moody decides to make summer fun by competing with her best friends to see who accumulates the most thrill points. With thrilling roller coasters, scary movies, and hunting Bigfoot, Judy Moody thinks she’s in for the best summer for her life. Summer takes a turn for the worse, however, when Judy’s parents go to California and leaver her with Aunt Opal.

Even though this book was my least favorite out of the three books in this post, I think this a perfect summer book for younger readers. Everyone wants to have the best summer ever and Judy Moody finds herself in situations that will make younger readers laugh out loud. Since the book does not really pick up until the middle to end of the book, I give this book four out of five stars.


Thrift Store Book Haul #2

spring haul

Recently, I went to two Goodwills, a local thrift store, Dollar Tree, and Target’s dollar section to find some cheap books and other literary finds!

From Goodwill #1:

  • The 100th Day of School by Angela Shelf Medearis

I was excited to find this book because it will be the perfect book to read on the 100th day of school whenever I am a teacher!

  • Amelia Bedelia, Bookworm by Herman Parish
  • Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae and David Wojtowycz
  • Rhinoceros Tap by Adam Bryant and Sandra Boynton

I think this will be a great book to help me incorporate music into the classroom, especially because the CD was still in the book. There’s also music for one of my favorite Sandra Boynton books, Barnyard Dance.

  • Fancy Nancy: Halloween… or Bust! based on the creation of Jane O’Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser
  • Frindle by Andrew Clements

I taught a unit plan on this book, so it will always hold a special place in my heart.

  • Happy Halloween, Biscuit! by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

Biscuit is one of my favorites, so I always pick up a Biscuit book when I see it!

  • Pledge of Allegiance (Special Commemorative Classroom Edition)

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

  • The Bad Beginning (Book One)
  • The Reptile Room (Book Two)
  • The Wide Window (Book Three)
  • The Slippery Slope (Book Ten)

Since the Netflix series will be coming out at the end of the summer, I wanted to reread some of the books before it came out. It made me excited to find these books for so cheap at the thrift store!

From Goodwill #2:

Judy Moody series by Megan McDonald

  • Judy Moody was in a Mood (Book One)
  • Judy Moody Gets Famous! (Book Two)
  • Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer (Book Ten)
  • Judy Moody’s Mini-Mysteries and Other Sneaky Stuff for Super Sleuths

I love Judy Moody books, so I was glad to find some more! I realized I actually hauled one of these in my previous haul, but that just means I’ll have two copies for my classroom. 

A Series of Unfortunate Events

  • The Miserable Mill (Book Four)
  • The Austere Academy (Book Five)
  • The Ersatz Elevator (Book Six)

Since I found the first three books at the other Goodwill I went to, it made me so happy to find the next three books in the series at another Goodwill!

From a local thrift store:

  • Midnight on the Moon by Mary Pope Osborne

I used to have A TON of Magic Tree House books, but I ended up selling them all once I got older (what was I thinking?). Since I’m going to be an elementary teacher someday, I decided to stock up again!


From Dollar Tree:

  • Jessica Darling’s It List by Megan McCafferty

I haven’t read the Jessica Darling series (yet), but I’m hoping this prequel will be a good introduction to the series. 

  • Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream by Jenny Han

I picked up this book after my sister told me how much she loved Jenny Han’s writing. I’ve never heard of this book, but it looks really cute!


Target’s Dollar Section:

4 Dr. Seuss posters (see below)

I love Dr. Seuss and I hope that I can incorporate these posters into my future classroom!

posters 1 posters 2

What are some books that you’ve thrifted lately?