Monday 6 November 2017

Broken Birthday - Courtney Sheinmel and Jennifer A. Bell - Stella Batts Book 10

Broken Birthday
Stella Batts Book 10
Courtney Sheinmel (Author)
Jennifer A. Bell (Illustrator)
Sleeping Bear Press

ISBN 9781585369225
eISBN 9781634724173

My oldest daughter and I have been reading the Stella Batts books together for a few years now. It was almost 3 years ago when we read our first and we have fallen in love with Stella, her friends, her family, and her adventures. We have read the whole series, though not in order. My daughter did one of her first book reports on a Stella Batts book. And when she found out that there was a book 10 she kept asking me every week if it was out yet or if I had got an advance copy so we could start reading it. And this book made my top ten list this past quarter. But this book was a major change for reading with my daughter.

My daughter is or was a very reluctant reader, but she loves this books. When we first started reading together daily we would alternate pages, or if she was really struggling I would read two for every page she read. While reading this book I came down with a very bad cough, and could barely speak. But she wanted to keep reading so for three nights in a row she read two or three chapters to me so we could keep reading and finish the book. Often reading well beyond the 20 minutes the school expects each night. And in my opinion that is the greatest compliment to this book and this series. A reluctant reader literally could not stop reading it!

In some ways this book is part retrospective. It looks back over the previous 9 books in the series. Stella likes list and her books usually include a list or two. And this book begins with a list of things she wrote about when she was 8. In fact the first chapters of this book is a brief summary of each of the other books:

"Things I Wrote About When I Was Eight

Hi, it's Stella Batts again!
I've written nine books since I turned eight years old. That's because a lot of things happened to me that I wanted to write about, such as:
1 Joshua in my class started calling me Smella, so I changed my name. But then I changed it back again.
2 I taste-tested magic gum, which was fun. But then I got it stuck in my hair, which was NOT fun at all. Plus, my best friend Willa moved away, which was the most not-fun thing ever.
3 But I got a new best friend, named Evie, who moved here from London. She has a cool accent.
4 My baby brother, Marco, was born.
5 I got to babysit Evie's dog, and I lost it! Luckily, my sister, Penny, helped find it.
6 Penny and I were flower girls, we got a new uncle and a new cousin, and we all went swimming in our flower-girl dresses!
7 My friend Lucy and I made a secret newspaper. I wrote about the secret new Candy Carnival at our store, Batts Confections. (It's not a secret anymore.)
8 I got to be on my favorite show in the whole entire world, called Superstar Sam.
9 I slept over in my school library.
In this book I'm going to write about the amazing trip my family and I are about to take. And guess what? By the time I finish this book, the other thing that will have happened is I will have turned NINE YEARS OLD!" And in case you couldn't tell the books are written as if Stella herself wrote them. 

In this book Stella is about to turn 9, and her family is travelling to visit her best friend Willa who moved away a year earlier. But on the day before they are to leave for their cross country trip Stella has a mishap. And not a mishap like getting gum in her hair, and not a mishap like using her sisters pony tails as paint brushes. And not a mishap like a lost dog. And now instead of visiting Willa, Stella is stuck in the hospital. To find out the how's and why's you will need to read the book! 

My daughter and I have started a number of different series geared for her reading level and that are age appropriate. This is the only one she eagerly awaits new titles. It is the only series that we have read the whole series. And it is the only book that she has started reading to her younger sister. That is the power of the Stella Batts stories, the magnificent writing of  Courtney Sheinmel, and the wonderful illustrations by Jennifer A. Bell. Every chapter in this book has a 'Remember When' illustrations that captures a moment from each of the earlier books.

It was great reading books that are so realistic. Stella could be your daughter, the kid next dory, or a friend of the family. I think these books are great reads to share with my kids and friends of the family. I just really hope this is not Stella's last adventures, because we love these books so much. And if it is then it is time to move on and try some other books by Courtney Sheinmel. A wonderful book in am amazing series!

Books by: Courtney Sheinmel:
Stella Batts:

Stella Batts Needs A New Name
Stella Batts Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
Stella Batts Pardon Me
Stella Batts A Case of the Meanies
Stella Batts Who's in Charge?
Stella Batts Something Blue
Stella Batts None of Your Beeswax
Stella Batts Superstar

Stella Batts Scaredy Cat
Stella Batts Broken Birthday

The Kindness Club:
The Kindness Club
Designed by Lucy

Agnes and Clarabelle Series :
Agnes and Clarabelle
Agnes and Clarabelle Celebrate

Other Books:
My So-Called Life
All the Things You Are

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