Thursday, October 24, 2013

{Crew Review} Not a “Payne”-ful Read Aloud


The 2013-14 season for Schoolhouse Reviews is winding down, but Luke, Levi and I have been enjoying a couple more fun books that help us smile and enjoy one another’s company.  Today, I’ll tell you about a new book from Barbour Publishing and author Annie Tipton called Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story (on sale for $4.49, appropriate for ages 8 – 12 years old).

The books begins each chapter in a writing style my Luke just loves:  first-person diary entries.  These diary accounts of EJ Payne (that’s Emma Jean), an imaginative and distractible 4th grader open each chapter’s  third-person narratives of her escapades and imaginative adventures.  Luke was instantly drawn to EJ’s book.

EJ is the 10-year-old daughter of a pastor dad and school teacher mom.  Her brother, Isaac (aka Space Invader) is just starting kindergarten this year in exciting Spooner, Wisconsin.  This is just not an exciting place for EJ and she has dreams to do something big and change the world. 

I was curious to discover if the boys’ interest would be muted because EJ is a girl. We have had a few books in the past couple years that the boys were less than enthusiastic about because the main character was a girl.  However, add the word “diary” and the curious last name “Payne” and an astronaut walking on monkey bars…well, this was a boy-pleasing combination. 

 photo ProductImageHandlerashx_zpsdee6635f.png

As I mentioned, EJ has a very exciting imagination and finds herself using her imagination for good (like helping to calm herself during the Fourth Grade Spelling Bee at school) and for, well, not so good (like when she imagined herself to be a race car driver in the grocery store.  oops).  I think this is really resonating with my Luke.  His imagination usually takes the form of a variety of battles and wars, some that include toy figures and others that include anyone who might be hangin’ around.  I think he is comforting for him to see that there are other kids who are like he is – imaginative and creative.

But bigger than this is the story of EJ and her nemesis – the perfectly mannered, perfectly blond Coralee McCallister.  She wins the school spelling bee, gets to be Mary for Christmas.  Well, you get the picture.  As the story moves along, EJ sees patterns and God moments in her life that help her to see her nemesis as not so…um, nemesis-y.  EJ begins to see that God does have a big awesome plan for her…right in plain old Spooner, Wisconsin.

You can find a link to read a chapter here. (It will download as a PDF.)

I’ve been pleased to use this story as a cuddling’ read aloud at the end of our days.  It’s been nice getting back to reading together as a family {sometimes the best laid plans get jumbled up at our house}.  I love that the author, Annie Tipton, has created a heroine that is approachable with boys and girls.  EJ is a fairly ‘normal’ kid who is learns about God in the every day of life.  What a great lesson for our kids.

And … Book 2 due in the spring!

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew


All prices are accurate as of blog posting.

No comments: