MMGM: The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue, by Karina Yan Glaser

Welcome to another Marvelous Middle Grade Monday...brought to you by blog post scheduling, because as this goes live, I'm busy typing away at my own middle grade novel for Camp NaNoWriMo. If I don't respond to your comments right away, please forgive me; this crazy fast novel drafting is a bit of a drain on all other writing activities, but I promise I won't forget you! :)


Aren't book series wonderful? In my experience as a homeschooling mother (and aunt :) ), there's nothing better than series when your new reader hits a certain age where they want to read and read and read--but they don't necessarily want to invest all that time in a new world every time. Even as an adult, there are times when my own life is so full of dentist appointments and teaching math and volunteering and folding laundry that picking up a book and meeting new characters sounds like more of a social engagement than a relaxing escape (Is this a peculiarly introverted reader tendency, I wonder??). On those days, picking up a new book in a series I've already come to love is sheer reading joy.

The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue is book #3 is Karina Yan Glaser's delightful Vanderbeeker Family series, and it came into my life (via Netgalley--thanks, publisher!) at just the right moment. I needed something lighthearted--but bighearted; fast-paced--but not adrenaline-pumping; engaging--but not so much that I couldn't put it down when my own family needed me. If you're at a similar point in your life, the Vanderbeekers have got you covered. (Also, if you're at a similar point in your life--I'm sorry. It'll get easier. Send me an email and I'll say some extra prayers for you.)

While Book #3 could be standalone, I do recommend that you read these books in order--mainly because there are a lot of people to keep track of in the Vanderbeeker's big nuclear family and "neighborhood family."

Here's the synopsis from the publisher:

For the Vanderbeeker kids of Harlem’s 141st Street, spring break couldn’t be off to a better start. Isa’s back from band camp, Oliver’s building his first-ever treehouse in the backyard of the brownstone, and Laney, Jess, and Hyacinth are excited to help their mother when she gets the once-in-a-lifetime chance to star in a cooking magazine.

But the Vanderbeekers’ plans go off the rails when an unexpected visit from city officials puts their mother’s bakery in jeopardy. Now they’ll have to band together to save the day before they’re out of business.


The book comes out September 17, but you can pre-order it now by clicking this image. 
Pre-orders are very important to authors!

And my thoughts:

I thought the plotting and characterization of this third Vanderbeeker story were even better than the previous two--which I enjoyed! I absolutely loved the continuing strong family relationship and the positive light in which a large, crazy family is shown, without sugarcoating the difficulties that big family life can cause (especially when you add a bunch of animals to the mix--trust me, I know this from experience). In today's culture, when children are being accused of being burdens to the ecosystem instead of sources of joy and creativity and innovation and love in the world, this is a particularly important message to get across. I'm so glad to have this book to hand to my daughters and to their friends who are dying for more stories of families like theirs!

Here's my nitpick for this 100% honest review:
The plotting of this book is excellent on its own. As a third book in a series...it got a little repetitive. Just like the first two books, the Vanderbeeker children have made a mess of things and need to fix it--against a ticking clock. The countdown element felt so familiar in this story, that it slightly frustrated me as an adult reader. Is a kid going to care? Maybe one in a million will. Maybe not. But if you adult readers find yourself a little "meh" about the plot, keep in mind that it might not be the plot itself--it might just be that you've seen that device before with these characters. And then just enjoy the characters, because they're pretty great. :)

For more Marvelous Middle Grade Monday recommendations, check out the list on Greg Pattridge's blog!

Comments

  1. I've heard great things about this series but not read it. Good to know that I should start with book 1. Thanks for your honest review of this one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you'll really enjoy the series, Natalie!

      Delete
  2. I keep hearing good things about this series so I'm making room in my future reading schedule to give it a go. The characters intrigue me the most. Thanks for your review.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the intro to this series. I really enjoyed your honest thoughts. It does sound like a light-hearted read and I'm curious enough to check it out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely do! I'd love to see what you think.

      Delete
  4. From an adult perspective, I found the adults' lack of planning maddening. Sure, kids want to save the day, and maybe that's the appeal, but I think you are spot on with your review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah...it's tough as an author to find that balance, and it's wise as a plotter to lean toward letting your main characters make their own decisions and save the day. But as mother, there's a bit of head-shaking and thoughts of, "I hope my kids don't ever get ideas like this..." ;)

      Delete
  5. I read another review of this series a few weeks ago, and your review further intrigues me! It's good to know that this third book is slightly improved compared to the first two (even if the basic plot is similar). Thanks for the review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is, for sure! The writing just keeps getting better.

      Delete
  6. "...there's nothing better than series when your new reader hits a certain age where they want to read and read and read--but they don't necessarily want to invest all that time in a new world every time." Good point, Faith! I loved series as a kid. The Bobbsey Twins, The Happy Hollisters and more. I was always into the next book from the library. Oddly enough, at my current age I'm really not invested in series at all. Or it may be the brain injury. It takes so long for me to read a book now that it has to be 100% worth it!

    Good luck with your novel!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know what you mean, Joanne! While I do still enjoy series, they don't have the pull for me that they did when I was 8-10 or so. As the saying goes, the sequel is never as good as the original--even though that's often not true with books, some of the time authors get lazy and don't put as much work into developing world and characters in later additions. I do think this sequel is an improvement, however!

      Delete
  7. You're doing Camp Nano?!!! Wonderful!!! And I love your reviews because they are honest. I've not read this series of books but will give it a look. I'll probably learn some tips on being a more patient mother :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doing my best! :) (Thank goodness I have big girls who like to cook and read aloud to their little siblings!!)

      Delete
  8. How nice to find another Vanderbeeker book. I really like them as well. Good luck with your writing. I will try to check out the new book.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Comments make me happy.

Popular Posts