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Skill Test: The CLUE Mystery Mansion

Skill Test: The CLUE Mystery Mansion

cluemansion“Welcome to the party everyone’s dying to attend! As one of the rich and famous, you’ve been invited to an incredible evening.  But, after you arrive, the host, well…dies, and everyone knows it was foul play! Now you must solve the mystery. Move around the mansion and find clues. If you can narrow it down to who did it, where, and with which weapon, go to the pool and make your accusation!”

CLUE Mystery Mansion

Talk the Talk Word of the Day: Suspect – The person accused of a crime. The person you think did it but it has not been proved yet.

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Poppy and Ereth

Poppy and Ereth

Poppy and Ereth

This is the sixth, and Avi says the last, story about Poppy the mouse. I’ll warn you, you’re going to need some kleenex for this one, but that’s all I’m going to say. The characters in this book might be bats and mice and porcupines but you actually care about them! I really don’t want to see a mouse in my house, but if the mouse were Poppy, well, then I’d let her stay! In this one Poppy has another adventure, even though she is now a Grandmother many times over. The best part is, Poppy’s got a grandson named Spruce who just might have her adventurous spirit too! Author: Avi Series: Poppy

#1: Poppy
#2: Poppy and Rye
#3: Ragweed
#4: Ereth’s Birthday
#5: Poppy’s Return
#6: Poppy and Ereth

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Confetti Girl

Confetti Girl

Confetti Girl

Lina is having a really tough year since her Mom died. Lina’s best friend is having a tough year too since her Dad up and left. The girls cope by keeping busy playing volleyball, doing homework and talking about cute boys. Plus, they have each other. It always helps to have a friend that understands.

Lina’s Dad and Vanessa’s Mom aren’t doing so good. Lina’s Dad is an English Professor and spends his time with his nose buried in a book – so much time that he forgets about Lina sometimes. Vanessa’s mom spends her time obsessively making Cascarones – hollow eggs filled with confetti. She makes so many that the eggs are piling up all over Vanessa’s house. The irony is Cascarones are “good luck eggs.” You crack one over somebody’s head to give them good luck.  Eggs need cracked over everyone in these two families.

The best part about this book is the adults. Lina’s Dad and Vanessa’s mom are very real characters. They aren’t stereotype parents. You can feel their pain and you can understand the reasons they are acting so strangely. I liked watching these two families work through tough times. The characters in Confetti Girl show you how important family and friends are during hard times and how important it is to lean on them instead of pushing them away. Sometimes, it’s important to let people help you.

Two more really good stories about kids coping with grief within their families. They each find some good people to help them find their smiles again:
Umbrella Summer The Girl Who Threw Butterflies Belle Prater's Boy
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Fortune’s Magic Farm

Fortune’s Magic Farm

Fortune's Magic Farm

Isabelle is an orphan. She works in a factory to pay the rent and buy food for herself and the ailing elderly lady who adopted her. Her job? Sticking address labels on umbrella boxes…all…day…long. And she’s only ten! It rains all the time in her town. She doesn’t even know what sunshine feels like.

Even though this life sounds miserable, Isabelle is sure that one day, something special will happen to her and one day, something special does! Isabelle unexpectedly receives a perfect red apple from a very unusual source. This gift begins Isabelle’s journey to her home, not her room in the attic of the decrepit boardinghouse, but her real home - Fortune’s Magic Farm. The Farm is Isabelle’s real home, it’s the place where the ingredients for magic potions are grown. At the Farm, Isabelle meets some people like herself – special people who have an important job to do saving the world from misery and unhappiness. Author: Suzanne Selfors

Isabelle reminds me a lot of Charlie Bucket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Charlie is also down on his luck when he finds the golden ticket – his ticket to a magical place that is actually meant for him, like he was destined to go there. Isabelle is destined to go to Fortune’s Magic Farm too. 

I loved the characters in this book. In Isabelle’s crummy town, Runny Cove, there are some real meanies. On Fortune’s Magic Farm there are some really fun, crazy characters – crazy in a good way – like Willy Wonka.

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Skill Test: The Math Maven Mysteries

Skill Test: The Math Maven Mysteries

cafeteriacaper_regIn The Math Maven Mysteries, each mystery will require you to read (or listen if you want to – click the “audio” button) and think about how you would solve the mystery. You need sharp math skills to solve each case Start with:

Then, when you think you’ve really got your skills warmed up try these:

Talk the Talk Word of the Day: Stakeout - To keep watch secretly.

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