Children's books and book reviews - reading resource for kids, teachers, librarians, parents

Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

*Second Fiddle* by Rosanne Parry - middle grades book review
Second Fiddle
by Rosanne Parry
Ages 9-14 240 pages Random House March 2011 Hardcover    

Roseanne Parry’s latest novel for middle-grade readers, Second Fiddle, is an appealing piece of contemporary historical fiction. Set in Berlin, in the early 1990s, just after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the book is told by Jody, an eighth-grade violinist and aspiring composer.

Jody lives on a military base; her father is scheduled to be sent back to the United States soon after her planned trip to a music competition in Paris with her good friends Giselle and Vivian. Soon after the girls’ trip is cancelled because of their teacher’s impending surgery, the girls go to East Berlin and witness a soldier being beaten and thrown into the river.

After considerable effort, they rescue the soldier and help to hide and care for him. Together, they devise a plot to save the soldier by disguising him as their chaperone for their trip to Paris.

Hints of danger follow the girls and the soldier as they travel to Paris; someone might be following them. After they reach their destination and perform at the competition, the girls discover that the soldier is gone, and so is all their money. Needing both shelter and food, the girls perform on the streets to earn enough money to pay for their trip home.

With a surprise ending filled with military intrigue and espionage, the conclusion is both tidy and exciting. An author’s note about the division of German and the Berlin Wall completes the book and helps young readers understand this pivotal point in history.

The plot is rather lineal, following a deliberate, chronological format. Consequently, Second Fiddle is an excellent choice for middle-school girls who struggle with reading stamina and comprehension. While the action slows down a bit when the girls reach Paris, their adventure is nevertheless exciting and the descriptions of the Parisian setting captivating.

Readers with a passion for music will identify with the characters and become inspired by the power of their music and friendship. Recommended for girls in grades 4-8.
books for elementary readers

click here to browse children's board book reviews
click here to browse children's picture book reviews
click here to browse young readers book reviews
click here to browse young readers book reviews
click here to browse young adult book reviews
click here to browse parenting book reviews
web reviews
  Kristine Wildner/2011 for curled up with a good kid's book  

For grown-up fiction, nonfiction and speculative fiction book reviews,
visit our sister site Curled Up With a Good Book (