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Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

*Ms. Rapscott's Girls* by Elise Primavera - middle grades book review
Also by Elise Primavera:

Who Needs Love?

The House at the End of Ladybug Lane

Louise the Big Cheese: Divine Diva

Thumb Love
Ms. Rapscott's Girls
by Elise Primavera
Ages 7-12 272 pages Dial Books March 2015 Hardcover    

The five eight-yeariold girls in Primavera’s (Auntie Claus) newest novel have been selected by Ms. Rapscott because they have the world’s busiest parents.

Beatrice, Mildred, Fay, Annabelle and Dahlia will spend three weeks living in her lighthouse learning how to get lost on purpose. If they want to go home again, they have to demonstrate pluck, enthusiasm, spirit of adventure, brilliance, and self-reliance.

Because Ms. Rapscott grew up with busy parents, she knows what the girls are missing in their lives. Besides teaching them “The Basics,” such as how to find missing socks and how to grow a carrot, she helps them improve their hygiene and their manners. She uses a reward system that involves putting names on layers of cake (which they eat a lot of in this book) and wearing pajamas. Ms. Rapscott is one of those teachers that change lives not with their knowledge of English or Math, but through her understanding of what a person needs in their lives to feel good about themselves.

Some of my favorite parts of the book are when the girls travel to “The Alps” to rescue their friend Dahlia. The Alps are located inside a building where everything resembles ice cream. It’s here that they meet the boys of the busiest parents.

Questions about the magic wishbone and the locked rooms kept me interested, and passages that contained quotes such “Life is like trying to make your own birthday cake without a recipe” had me reading carefully. I didn’t want to miss a word of Ms. Rapscott’s teaching because, although I am an adult, I felt everything she taught could benefit me today.

At the end of the book, when the girls have to return home, they are sad because they know their parents will still be busy. But Ms. Rapscott makes them see that just because parents are busy doesn’t mean they don’t care. The girls have new skills and friendships, and because they feel braver now, they will be prepared for hurricane season when they come back for the fall semester.

I will be choosing this book for the library’s Mother-Daughter Book Club because I know it will be enjoyed by both the moms and the daughters.
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  Tanya Boudreau/2015 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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