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Every Drop Counts – Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman

DRY
by Neal Shusterman & Jarrod Shusterman
(Simon & Schuster; $18.99, Ages 13-17)

 

 

Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman book cover

 

 

Starred Review – Kirkus Reviews
NYPL Best Books for Teens

 

New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman’s YA novel Dry follows the perilous adventure of 16-year-old Alyssa in Southern California during a major drought that turns deadly. The drought or “The Tap-Out” has resulted in a cutoff of water from reaching any homes, sending Alyssa’s parents in search of other water sources. Unfortunately, her parents do not return. This turn of events results in an unexpected and dangerous journey for Alyssa, her younger brother, Garrett and their survivalist neighbor Kelton. Companions they meet along the way include rebellious Jacqui and barterer, Henry.

This suspenseful story is told through the eyes of each teen, switching between them and snapshots of outside characters whom the teens encounter in their harrowing journey through California in a desperate search for water. Dry is a fantastic dystopian novel yet its closeness to reality, due to California’s already barren lands, makes the story even more gripping as we could easily be Alyssa or Garrett and so look to see how all the characters deal with crisis. The writing appealed to me because the authors were able to create compelling and distinct individual personalities for the characters, allowing me to identify with certain actions or people within the story. I was fascinated by how the characters reacted in each situation the authors’ depicted because it made me question if I would react in the same way.

This novel is guaranteed to keep readers on their toes. If you’re unsure as to whether to read Dry, I’d say definitely give it the benefit of the drought!

  • Review by Rachel Kaufman

 


Rachel Kaufman is a current sophomore studying communications at the University of Southern California. She’s passionate about books and hiking with her dog, Scout. Rachel enjoys how books reshape her imagination of the world around her. Rachel knows firsthand how important books are in aiding children’s futures, working with a reading program, Reach Out and Read, by reading, organizing, and donating over 200 children’s books. In her free time you can find her either reading or thinking about what she might read next.

 

Goatilocks and the Three Bears by Erica S. Perl

Goatilocks and the Three Bears written by Erica S. Perl and illustrated by Arthur Howard
(Simon & Schuster, $17.99, Ages 4-8)

goatilocks-and-the-three-bears-cvr.jpgWe know the story of curious Goldilocks, the little girl who goes a bit overboard snooping around the bears’ house. But Goatilocks? Why not? In this picture book, Perl has fractured the beloved fairy tale in a way that parents may see coming, but is still sure to make (human) kids laugh.

This kid, Goatilocks, happens to live nearby three bears who happen to be setting off on a walk (check out Papa Bear’s camera). Not one to shy away from private property, Goatilocks decides to check the place out while the residents are gone. However, rather than following tradition by sampling all three bowls of porridge and ultimately consuming the baby’s portion, this kid not only enjoys the baby’s porridge, but proceeds to devour the entire bowl, and spoon! So you can just imagine what Goatilocks gets up to with the furniture she tries out. And when I say some stuffing’s involved I don’t mean Stovetop!

When at last the guilty goat is discovered, you may think you know what happens next. But remember this is a fractured fairy tale and anything goes! Suffice it to say that thankfully this little kid has a conscience …. and is not the only one in the neighborhood with a boundless appetite!

Howard’s simple, and sweet illustrations are perfect for this picture book. They’re funny, full of expression and don’t overwhelm the story. In other words, they’re just right

– Reviewed by Ronna Mandel

Kids Can Start Businesses Too

Daryl Bernstein wrote the original edition of  Better Than a Lemonade Stand: Small Business Ideas for Kids ($16.99, Aladdin/Atheneum Books, Ages 9 and up) when he was only 15 years old. Since then, he has polished his book, updated the information and added more detail.  Most of us are now familiar with the story of Alexandra Scott, who at the age of 4, started a lemonade stand to raise money  for cancer that is now a multi-million dollar charity known as Alex’s Lemonade StandHer story is heartwarming and inspiring.

With the today’s technology, the opportunities for kids to start businesses are seemingly endless. Better Than a Lemonade Stand lists 56 small business ideas. Going over the list, I can sense that some of the ideas are better for older kids than younger ones, such as a new product assembler or a store window painter, someone who paints ads, holiday greetings and such on store windows. It doesn’t seem likely that a store owner would hire a 9-year-old to do those jobs. In any event, the wholesome list of business ideas is wonderfully broad, and at least one is sure to inspire your child and tap into his or her talents.

Each business idea comes with an explanation of duties, time needed to do the job, what to charge, how to advertise and also lists some hints about how to most efficiently do the work. At the beginning of the book, Bernstein also touches upon cautions that young business owners must take, a list of lessons for entrepreneurs and tips on starting and running a business, such as choosing a name, buying supplies, billing and more.  I thoroughly enjoyed the inspirational stories from kids who started their own businesses. There are additional resources listed in the back of the book as well.

What I like about Better Than a Lemonade Stand is that it really gets kids thinking about what it takes to make a living, and more importantly, how hard their parents have to work to pay for housing, food, cars and their education. The most successful people I’ve ever met are the ones who were self-motivated as children, resourceful and hard-working. Today, many of us parents want our kids to have the best, so we don’t always make them work for what they want. I think there’s a nice balance between receiving gifts and earning money to buy these things for one’s self. Clearly children who are willing to work for what they want seem to appreciate what they have even more. By starting their own ventures, they will also learn to think creatively, build their confidence and ultimately hone their math skills. How wonderful is that?

Debbie Glade reviewed today’s book and appreciates that her daughter Rachel works during summers when not at university.

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