So, like I said, I read a lot of children’s books in June. I was in the mood for some comforting rereads!!
The Pink Motel by Carol Ryrie Brink – 4*
In this adorable book a family inherits a motel in Florida. They go down over winter break to get things in order to sell it. Of course, the children love it and want to stay, especially when they arrive and find that the motel is painted a bright, vibrant pink – which, in turn, seems to attract unusual residents, some of whom have been coming to stay there for years. All the characters in this book are great fun, and there is just enough mystery to keep things moving. This is an old favorite that I highly recommend.
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell – 4*
I hadn’t read this book since high school, but it’s held up pretty well over the years. I was always a sucker for books about people living on their own in the wilderness, and that’s the premise of Blue Dolphins as well. This book covers a weirdly long amount of time (I realize it was based on a true story and the author was working within those parameters but still) so it somewhat lacks urgency, but was still an interesting and engaging story.
The Snarkout Boys & the Avocado of Death by Daniel Pinkwater – 4.5*
Wow, I love this book so much. Pinkwater is absolutely insane and his books are not for everyone, since they frequently read like a weird dream, but I honestly love every page of this book. It had been a long time since I’d actually read it all the way through and it’s even more ridiculous than I remembered, but in a way that made me super happy. If you’re looking for something that is complete and utter nonsense, look no further than Pinkwater. This book may also appeal to you if you: love avocados, have ever known a mad scientist, think high school is biggest waste of time ever, ever used to sneak out of the house, or wish you had a 24hr movie theater in your neighborhood.
The Snarkout Boys & the Baconburg Horror by Daniel Pinkwater – 4*
If you enjoy Avocado of Death, you’ll enjoy Baconburg Horror as well. This one is a little more scifi trope-y (it involves a werewolf), but the main reason I don’t enjoy it quite as much is because Avocado is a first-person narration and the narrator is a huge part of what makes that book entertaining. The same kid is narrating in Baconburg, but he only narrates part of the book – other parts jump around to third person randomly, which makes the whole story feel a lot more choppy and not quite as fun. Still, Baconburg is well worth the read if you enjoyed the first book, and this photo of Pinkwater’s “biography” in the back of the book may give you a small clue as to whether or not you will find him entertaining!
O the Red Rose Tree by Patricia Beatty – 3.5*
Believe it or not, I’m still slowly working my way through all the books that I own, many of which I haven’t read since high school! This is one of those books that I purchased back in the mid-90’s and hadn’t read since then. This is a perfectly nice historical fiction about a group of friends who help an elderly neighbor complete a quilt she’s always dreamed of making. Set in Washington state in the 1890’s, the challenge to the girls is to find several different types of red cotton (that doesn’t bleed) at a time when that type of cloth was rare and expensive. This leads to several entertaining adventures and a few life-lessons. While I enjoyed this one just fine, I don’t really see myself rereading it – so it has headed off to a new home, giving me one more spot for a new book on my shelves!!