Friday, July 22, 2022

STELLA: A Middle Grade Book Review by Guest Blogger, Josie Murdock + A Giveaway


REVIEW



Stella (Shadow Mountain, September 2022) is the story of a security service dog with trauma issues. Due to an error while sniffing out bombs at an airport, Stella’s handler was tragically killed in an explosion. Stella survived but is now afraid of everything. A kindly trainer takes her home and entrusts her to the care of her own daughter, Cloe. 

Cloe suffers from epilepsy, but she and Stella form a bond of love and trust. Stella gets a chance to help protect Cloe when some unscrupulous neighbor boys light firecrackers and start a forest fire. When Cloe has a seizure and is in severe danger, Stella comes to her rescue. She finds a new purpose in being Cloe’s medical service dog as well as her friend.  

I really enjoyed this book because the story was well paced and very exciting.  The characters were both believable and relatable. I loved how the story was told from a dog’s perspective, but it was still easy to read and never got confusing. The book deals with some very serious and intense topics without sugar-coating them. It speaks carefully and thoughtfully about these issues.    

The book was very sad. Although it does have a good and happy ending, the events described were quite serious, and might even be considered a little frightening for younger readers. It is important however  for kids to understand these grown-up topics like death, illness, bullies, forest fires, emotional pain, and loss.  I benefitted from discussing some of the issues the book brought up with my older siblings and my mom.  

I would absolutely recommend this book for anyone who wants an engaging, easy-to-read story.  Stella teaches many important lessons in words appropriately geared towards a younger audience.  This book would also make an excellent read-aloud for a group discussion or with a trusted adult. The author includes some excellent questions for further discussion.   

    


Josie Murdock is 10-years-old and lives with her family on a research farm in South Carolina.  She is homeschooled and loves reading, drawing, and foxes.  This is her first time writing a book review.   

 

 

GIVEAWAY 


I am giving away McCall Hoyle's debut lower middle grade through the July issue of Talking Story. To enter, please leave a comment with your name and email address or email me and I'll enter your name. The giveaway ends July 28. PLUS: If you leave a comment here AND through the newsletter, I'll enter your name twice! U.S. addresses only. 


Congratulations to Dannielle Hammelef who won Franz's Phantasmagorical Machine. 


PREORDER


As I mentioned before, authors really appreciate pre-orders


Here's the book trailer and a video of McCall speaking about empathy.








Make sure you check out other MG books on Greg Pattridge's blog.




 

 

  

31 comments:

Storylady said...

This is the book that my two middle grade grandchildren would both love to have--and I would love to share with them.

Terri DeGezelle Michels said...

Josie did a great job and her accounting of the book and story makes me want to pick it and read a good story. Thank you Good Job!

Antoinette said...

Great review of a book that looks very important. Thanks for posting.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Gwen, Terri and Antoinette. I know your comments will delight Josie and I hope you get a copy of Stella if you don't want it here!

Jilanne Hoffmann said...

This is an excellent review of a book my son would have loved in middle grade. It does make me want to read the story. Thank you for the recommendation, Josie!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Jilanne! Your name is in the giveaway.

Becky Scharnhorst said...

Thanks so much for the review, Josie! It sounds like a wonderful book, one that both my daughter and I would enjoy.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Becky. I hope you end up reading the book with her!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Jilanne! Your name is in the giveaway.

Danielle H. said...

Fantastic review! I can't wait to read this book too.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Danielle. Josie will be busting her buttons at how people are enjoying her review!

Lori said...

This sounds like a great book for middle grade readers! I can think of a few students at my school who would be interested in reading this one.

Carol Baldwin said...

You're in Lori. thanks!!

Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

Josie, you did a great job reviewing Stella! Congratulations! And congrats to McCall as well. Stella looks terrific and I appreciate the emphasis on animals and empathy! Thanks for being part of our next issue of Talking Story newsletter.

Rosi said...

It looks like you've found another terrific book reviewer! This sounds like a great book. I'll put it on my list. I'll pass on the giveaway. I'm way behind on my reading. Thanks for the post.

Carol Baldwin said...

Yes, she did Joyce!

Rosie Russell said...

Thank you both for telling us about this story. It sounds like a wonderful book and I look forward to reading it someday.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Rosie. I hope you do!

Carol Baldwin said...

I hope so, Rosi!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for the great review, Josie. I don't usually like stories told from an animal's POV, but this one sounds good. I'm going to pass on the giveaway.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Natalie. I appreciate you taking the time to encourage Josie.

Valinora Troy said...

Sounds a lovely story, I love dogs and know they are truly a great gift to us! Thanks for a great review, Josie, you clearly have a talent for it, and I look forward to reading more reviews by you. :)

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Valinora, for encouraging my new young blogger!

Patricia T. said...

Such a gorgeous cover -- immediately grabs reader's attention, as does the storyline. It may be a tough book for tweens, but an important on to read because of the themes. I love sharing stories of healing on my blog. Please add my name to the giveaway!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Patricia. You're in!

Greg Pattridge said...

Great first review. Elliott has some serious competition here. Josie outlined the important points of the story and sharing those in a discussion with family is the perfect way to enhance learning. I've added this one to my future read list. Thanks for joining us on Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Greg! Josie will be delighted to read your comment!!

Andrea Mack said...

Thanks Josie for sharing your take on this book! I am always so interested to find out which books kids really love. Dog stories have a special place in my heart.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks for your comment, Andrea. We appreciate hearing from you.

Elliott Kurta said...

I enjoyed reading your book review, and I liked hearing your opinion on the book as well as a synopsis of the plot. However, I'd like to opt out of the giveaway.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks for your comment, Elliott.

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