Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.
I checked out the books featured in today’s post hoping to read good middle grade mystery novels. I love the covers on both books and the stories turned out okay overall.
Written by Natalie Lloyd
Published by Katherine Tegen Books (2018)
Copy provided by Wayne County Public Library.
From the dust jacket: When the Problims’ beloved bungalow in the Swampy Woods goes kaboom, the seven siblings have no choice but to move into their grandpa’s abandoned old house in Lost Cove. No problem! For the Problim children, every problem is a gift… But the neighbors find the Problims’ return problematic—what with Sal’s foggy garden full of Wrangling Ivy, toddler Toot’s 364 stanktastic fart varieties, and Mona’s human catapult. Truth be told, rumors are flying about the Problims! Rumors of a bitter feud, a treasure, and a certain kind of magic that lingers in the halls of #7 Main Street.
Meet the Problim children: Mona, Toot, Wendell, Thea, Frida, Saturday, and Sundae. They are seven oddball siblings named after the day of the week that they were born.
When disaster struck, and their house exploded, the Problim children were forced to go out of hiding and live in their grandfather’s house in Lost Cove, a small town along the Carolina coastline. Unfortunately for the Problims, someone by the name of Desdemona O’Pinion wanted House Number Seven for herself: first to seek for a treasure map and second to smash it to smithereens. Despite Desdemona’s protest, the mayor of Lost Cove felt obliged to let the Problims stay in House Number Seven as long as they met one of two conditions: provide birth certificates as proof that they were indeed the Problim children or their parents would show up within 21 days.
Will their parents, who have been away on a grand archaeological adventure, make it back in time? What kind of treasure does the mysterious map lead to? Is there even a map?
The book reminds me a little bit of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Probably explains why I was drawn to the book in the first place! The Problim Children is the first of an intended trilogy. With equal parts magic and mystery—and seven misfits!—Natalie Lloyd’s The Problim Children is a delightful read.
Written by Tiffany Parks
Published by Harper (2018)
Copy provided by Wayne County Public Library.
From the dust jacket: Beatrice Archer may love history, and Rome may be chock-full of it, but that doesn’t mean she wants to move there! Too bad Beatrice’s father, who taught her everything she knows about exploring the past, got a job as the head of the history department at the American Academy in Rome… It isn’t until she hears talk of a strange neighborhood legend that Beatrice perks up. A centuries-old unsolved mystery about the beautiful fountain outside her window? Sounds like fun!
Beatrice Archer was not happy when her dad announced that they were moving to Rome. It certainly wasn’t easy to just pack up and leave everything behind, especially her friends! Beatrice and her dad eventually ended up in a neighborhood in Rome known as the Jewish Ghetto. She wasn’t looking forward to her new life, not even to her private lessons with Ginevra, the tutor that her dad hired to teach her basic Italian.
Along the way Beatrice met a group of boys. Three of them were also from America and one was half-Italian and half-American but lived in Rome all his life. His name was Marco, and he became Beatrice’s first official friend in Rome. When Beatrice learned that the beautiful fountain in the piazza was enveloped in mystery, she could not help but play Nancy Drew in Rome. Things got more complicated when Beatrice realized that valuable pieces from the fountain had been stolen! Beatrice faced a dilemma: solve a mystery or catch a thief?
Midnight in the Piazza started a bit slow for me. People who like art and history or have been in Rome might find this book interesting. According to the author, the book was inspired by actual Roman history, art, and architecture. What could be more fun than that? It’s easy to get lost when you’re not paying attention to the details in the book, especially with a lot of mention about the history behind the Turtle Fountain. Overall, a good historical fiction for kids.