Sunday, May 27, 2018

Nadya Skylung and the Cloudship Rescue (MMGM review)

Nadya Skylung and the Cloudship Rescue
Author: Jeff Seymour
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (May 15, 2018)

It's another Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, and I have a wonderful new book to recommend, perfect for the occasion. Jeff Seymour's debut middle grade novel is an absolute delight, and I am already eagerly waiting for a sequel.

Nadya Skylung is a member of the crew of the Cloudship Orion, which in this richly imagined world plies its trade from city to city powered by a cloud garden. Nadya's role is to help keep the plants in the garden  happy and healthy. (Far more than just tending to them, as skylungs like Nadya communicate with the plants in a manner that is part telepathic, part empathetic, and much cooler than I can describe here.)

When pirates attack and seize most of the crew, Nadya and her friends must decide whether to follow orders and escape, or risk everything to save the only family she's ever known. 

Nadya is heroic, headstrong, and a bit of a pain in the tush, and you won't be able to stop cheering for her, even when she stumbles and falls flat on her face. A very real, and very entertaining character, but the supporting cast is equally complex and fun.

While the plot of this novel is exciting, it is the whole world that will really pull you in. I read a lot of middle grade, and love many books, but only a few worlds over the years are so compelling I want to go live there for a while. Aside from those created by J.K. Rowling and C.S. Lewis, I can't think of any world more enticing than Jeff Seymour's. It isn't that it feels safe or comfortable, but then Harry Potter faces lots of danger and it doesn't make me want to visit less. There is just so much texture and depth behind every tidbit you learn about the cloudships and the cities, you want to explore and learn more.

But I guess we'll have to rely on Mr. Seymour. I hope we get to see more of Nadya and her friends, and learn more about this fantastical (and fantastic) world.

A real gem, I predict this will go on to be a favorite cherished book by middle grade boys and girls. It has that staying power which as a kid would have made me visit and re-read again and again.

Five stars!

Order Nadya Skylung and the Cloudship Rescue on Amazon US, or find where you can order it from a local indie bookstore.

Find the rest of the Marvelous Middle Grade Monday reviews for May 28, 2018

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Meet Yasmin! (review)

Meet Yasmin!
Author: Saadia Faruqi
Illustrator: Hatem Aly
Publisher: Picture Window Books (August 1, 2018)
ARC courtesy of NetGalley.

I've been waiting for a while to get a chance to read Saadia Faruqi's upcoming chapter book, Meet Yasmin!, and I was lucky enough to get an advanced reader copy from NetGalley.

Oh my gosh, this is such a delightful book, and Yasmin is such a fun and engaging second grader, she absolutely deserves that exclamation point in the title. Yasmin's family is Pakistani (as is the author), so the text is sprinkled with a few words in Urdu that kids will find easy to learn and fun to use. She is perfectly relatable, prone to worry and inspiration at a moment's notice, and her family is warm and supportive and everything you could hope for.

Hatem Aly's illustrations are an absolute delight, and he brings such life and energy to Yasmin and her family and classmates, you'll feel like you're right there with them as she goes through mini-adventures as an explorer, painter, builder and fashionista.

Teachers will love the age-appropriate study guide, with a glossary, recipe, facts about Pakistan, and more.

A wonderful, spirited book with a heroine I hope we meet many times again. Perfect for boys and girls in early elementary school.

Five stars!

Pre-order Meet Yasmin! on Amazon US, or find where you can pre-order it from a local indie bookstore.