Children’s Review: Army Brats by Daphne Benedis-Grab

Army Brats

Army Brats by Daphne Benedis-Grab

Scholastic Press- March 28, 2017

Purpose: Requested for review

Source: Publisher

I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.

5 stars

This is the story of three siblings as they adjust to living on an army post for the very first time. The Baileys are moving from Pennsylvania to Fort Patrick because their mom, a military intelligence officer has accepted a teaching position.  All three kids are excited about this move, and even about starting a new school. They will finally be around people who understand military life. But not everything turns out the way that they thought that it would.  Charlotte makes friends with a new girl, who happens to be very popular. But she soon discovers that popularity does not mean being nice. Tom, though he tries very hard not to, becomes the target of the base bully. Though Rosie is content with just her family and dog, Cupcake, she learns that it’s not so bad having a friend.

This is the third book by this author, and I must admit she has become a favorite. Not just for me, but for read a-louds with my son.   She has a way of talking about very big (and sometimes complicated) topics and breaking them down to kid-size portion. And she does this without dumbing down anything. This is a rather short book, so I don’t want to go into details that will give anything away. But I will do my best. I do recommend this, especially for kids who are struggling with finding their place in the world, who are starting middle school and who may have trouble making friends.

Because of Tom’s interactions with the base bully, he begins to question himself.  But as the siblings take on the challenge of the secret mission, he learns that there are worse things than someone teasing you – accepting the harmful words/taunts as truth. He gains a deeper and truer understanding of what it means to be brave, and not in the way that he thought he would.  Charlotte has made friends with the school’s very own mean girls. She goes along with them even when her brother becomes the target of their meanness. Rosie is a spitfire of a character and is very comfortable being herself, even if it leaves her without any friends. But she slowly learns what it takes to be a good friend.

This was a very fun story, one that I will reread to my son as he grows. It deals with real issues and considers the individuality of the characters. How they respond to their situations is unique to their personalities.  The solutions presented in the book, are realistic and highly recommended. There isn’t a false promise of a happily ever after at the end, and all problems are not solved with a nice little bow. All issues are resolved, and after the characters learn more about themselves, the only reassurance that they have at the end is that whatever comes their way, even the teasing and bullying, dealing with gossip and mean girls and all of the other things that come with the journey of middle school, they will be able to handle it.

If you have not had the opportunity to read any of Daphne Bendis-Grab’s work, I highly recommend it. I also recommend sharing it and passing it around to all the young readers in your life. That’s what I’m going to do.

Always Shine!


Challenge Read: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day


Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Dat by Judith Viorst 

Alexander #1

July 15, 1987 – Atheneum Book for Young Readers

32 pages – Children’s, Fiction, Classic

Source: Personal Library

Challenge: 1001 Children’s Book You Must Read Before You Grow Up

Goodreads Summary

First, I didn’t know that there was more Alexander books! I will be picking up the rest of this collection. People ask me all of the time what books did I enjoy reading as a kid and nothing comes to mind. I have always been a reader, and I don’t know if there truly is one book that set me on the reading path. But now that I have a kid of my own, I gravitate towards the books that I know, the books that I enjoyed. Alexander is a beloved character for me, and Peanut seemed to enjoy the story. I also have to agree with Alexander’s mom that some days are just like that.

5 stars *****

Always Shine!

Challenge Read: The Little Engine That Could

The Little Engine That Could

The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

1930- Platt & Munk Publishers

48 Pages – Childrens, Classic, Fiction

Source: Personal Library

Challenge: 1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up

Goodreads Summary

I read this with my son, who is 10.5 months old right now. It was a cute story and one that he enjoyed. I know that I have read this, perhaps a million times before, but it doesn’t seem to to get old. I also enjoyed the message that the book has. I look forward to reading this story over and over again with Peanut.

5 Stars *****

Always Shine!

Review: Seriously, You Have to Eat


Seriously, You Have to Eat by Adam Mansbach 

October 6, 2015 – Akashic Books

32 pages- Children’s, Humor, parenting

Facebook: yes

Twitter: @adammansbach

Source: Publisher

I was given a copy of this book, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

From Goodreads: On the heels of the New York Times best seller You Have to F**king Eat (a sequel to the worldwide mega-best seller Go the F**k to Sleep), now comes the version that is entirely appropriate to read to–and with–children. While the message and humor will be similar to the adult version, there will, of course, be no profanity whatsoever.

Step aside Green Eggs and Ham, there’s a new, 21st-century book in town that will compel all finicky children to eat!

My Thoughts: If you have heard of Mansbach you know that the original version of this story is not suitable for children. It may be what is going on inside the parent’s head , but not something they would actually say to their kid. This version is suitable for kids. In fact, I have already read this to my kid several times. Though he enjoyed the experience of listening to me read to, he is to young to understand what is going on (he’s only 9 months old). I was amused by the situations that the narrator and child finds themselves in. I am certain that this is a story that will be read over and over again in the next few years.

5 stars *****

Always Shine!