Saturday, September 5, 2015

My Near-Death Adventures (99% True) gets 3 Stars {Historical Fiction} (4th-7th Grade)

My Near Death Adventures (99% True) by new author Alison DeCamp is a middle grade (4th-7th grade) historical fiction.   This book is funny and humorous.  I gave it 3 out of 5 stars in my book review. Alohamora Open a Book kid lit, children's lit, hf, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th

Let me start with saying that I love the title of this book; it is just fun! The book title, and the fun scrapbook like pictures on the cover is a perfectly visual to portray the fun humor found inside.  

All in all, My Near-Death Adventures (99% True) by Alison DeCamp is a good book.  It isn't a great book, but it is good and fun.  I do think it will struggle to grab an elementary school/middle school aged kid.

I give My Near-Death Adventures (99% True) 3 out of 5 Stars.  I thought the storyline of the lumberjacks life was interesting, but it wasn't a strong storyline that moved the story along.  I thought Stanley, the main character, was a bit wordy; his wordiness and "thought processes" made it a bit boring at times even though he is a funny character.  However, the funny pranks, adventures, and things Stanley says (calling people names like Stinky Pete and his granny Evil) is what kids are really going to enjoy and laugh at.

The target audience of kids in 4th-7th grade aren't going to be concerned about the storyline or the confusing layout/editing of the book as much as I, or adults, will.  I wouldn't recommend this book to a reluctant reader, but if you have an avid reader looking for a fun historical read for an assignment or entertainment this would work great. 

Amazon had the following book review from School Library Journal.  I loved this publication when I was a librarian.  Very honest and helpful.

"Stan, the protagonist of DeCamp's lively and folksy debut novel, lives with his mother in Michigan in the late 1800s when a mysterious envelope arrives that changes their lives. Eleven-year-old Stan (who is literally counting the days until he turns twelve) has always assumed that his "long-lost father" is dead, but with the arrival of the envelope-and Stan's grandmother-he learns that his father is alive. Stan's "near-death" adventures begin when he travels to his uncle's logging camp where his mother and grandmother will cook for "real lumberjacks." With his cousin Geri (older than Stan by "twenty-three months and three days") as his guide, Stan navigates life with a group of colorful characters, using vivid language to describe the loggers and his campaign for his mother's permission to participate in the annual logrolling event. While Stan helps with chores, forms friendships with the loggers, and feels uneasy about the interest several men express in his mother, his rich imagination finds an outlet in the scrapbook he fills with magazine ads and clippings, copies of which are scattered throughout the novel. More poignant is the life Stan imagines his father having while waiting for his young son to find him. "I imagine he's out in the world doing something amazing, like mining gold or riding through the Wild West on horseback," Stan thinks. A secondary plot about Geri's interest in becoming a doctor enriches the story. Stan is a likable character with an exaggerated view of his abilities and a good heart. DeCamp's novel is a solid choice for fans of Rodman Philbrick's The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg (Scholastic, 2009)." 

Happy Funny and Silly Historical Fiction Reading

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