Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Review: The Fourteenth Goldfish

I'm always on the look out for good middle grade literature for my kids, which can be a daunting task because there seems to be a serious lack of good literature for middle school aged kids. So I was pleased to find Jennifer Holm's book The Fourteenth Goldfish to be a wonderful book for kids ages 10-14.

The main character, 11 year old Ellie is thrust into an adventure when her grandfather shows up in the body of a 13 year old boy. In the quest to retrieve his "fountain of youth" research from his lab, Ellie's grandfather helps her realize that science can be fun and interesting.

There are several things I really appreciate about this book. First, the author is not pushy about  certain scientific leanings. Several famous scientists and their accomplishments are mentioned with fairness - the grandfather, Melvin, shows them in a positive light, but Ellie does the research to see both the pros and cons of their accomplishments. Second, the author stays in character when presenting historical information - many books try too hard to be educational and veer away from what the main character would comprehend in the context of the story, but what Ellie learns about science make sense for her character and fits well in the story line. Third, this book deals with some of the tough relationship issues that preteens face in a way that's encouraging and enjoyable to read. As a bonus the characters are well developed and it doesn't have a cheesy ending. If her other books are of the same quality as The Fourteenth Goldfish, we will be reading more Jennifer Holm books in our family.
 *Special thanks to Random House Children's Books through for providing this book in exchange for my honest review.

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