January/February Book Subscription Boxes – Kids & Middle Grade

Lately I’ve been trying random book subscription boxes just to try to figure out which one I want to get on a regular basis. For January/February, I tried the following two boxes:

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This first box was the January Book Drop subscription. I picked the middle grade option, although I was torn between that and the young adult option. This subscription box sends you one book per month (along with a card about the book and little extras like bookmarks) and is pretty cheap (about $10 including S&H for this shipment). The Book Drop is run by an independent bookstore, which makes buying it even better since I like to support small businesses.

The book they sent this month was Winterhouse by Ben Guterson. I really enjoyed this mystery novel! The main character is a book nerd and loves to do puzzles, just like me! I did figure out the plot of the book pretty early on though, so the mystery wasn’t all that hard for me.

Here is the second box I received, this one in early February:

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This box was from Kids Bookcase Club. It cost $9.99 plus S&H. You get three kids books a month. This was the 7-8 year old box. Out of the three books they sent, my favorite by far was Terrific by Jon Agee. This picture book is sarcastic and hilarious! I love the grumpy old man who is the main character! The Very Fairy Princess was a cute picture book, but not exactly my taste. The Animal Planet Dolphin Rescue book was a young reader chapter book and it was cute and interesting, but obviously a simple read. For next month’s box, I decided to up the age to the preteen box to see what kind of middle grade books they send.

For the upcoming month I am also trying out the Scribbler subscription box for writers and the SpearCraft Book Box (which comes with all kinds of cool reader goodies)! So stay tuned!!!

“Walking Through Walls” – a Mythological Fantasy Adventure

I have always loved Eastern mythology, so I was very excited to read and review the new chapter book, “Walking Through Walls”, which was written by Karen Cioffi and illustrated by WillowRaven.  The story is based on an ancient Chinese tale about the Eternals.  For those of you unfamiliar with the legends, Eternals were God-like human beings who carried divine powers, such as the ability to turn into any creature they desire, walk through walls, live forever and perform feats similar to those of a superhero.  Since the Eternals are also pure in heart and intentions, only those who are unselfish and caring can become Eternals.

The main character in “Walking Through Walls” is a young boy named Wang.  Wang is dissatisfied with his life.  He dreams of being rich and powerful, but knows that if he stays at home he will likely just become a poor field worker.  So Wang sets out on a journey to become an Eternal, even though it is against the wishes of his family.

At first, I really liked Wang.  After all, he is a dreamer who wants a better life and is willing to take the risks necessary to pursue his dream.  However, it becomes apparent fairly soon that Wang is also extremely selfish, greedy and somewhat lazy.  Wang does find an Eternal willing to let him become an apprentice, but the hard work and selflessness necessary to become an Eternal soon has Wang ready to give up on the noble path.

Soon it looks like all hope is lost for Wang and that he has turned to the dark side, but don’t worry, the story does have a happy ending.  By the last page, the story meets a resolution that is both satisfactory and inspirational.  The book does include several morals, but they are hidden within the action so that they don’t intrude upon the story.

There are a few black and white illustrations spread throughout the book, but the majority of its 61 pages are filled with text.  This book might be a little overwhelming for a brand new reader, but it’s isn’t a hard or extremely long read, so it’s perfect for children who are ready to make the transition to chapter books or who have already successfully made the switch.  The few illustrations in the book are drawn well and really add to the enjoyment of the book.  There are also a few extra sections at the end of the book, including reading comprehension questions, activities to go along with the story, a brief lesson in Chinese history and information about the mythology surrounding Chinese dragons.

“Walking Through Walls” is a great read, and I would definitely recommend it to parents who want to buy their child an entertaining but meaningful story.  You can preorder the book on the 4RV publishing website, or wait until it is released in July and buy it from Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com or even order it from your local bookstore!