Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer
by Ali Maier
Joanna Robinson, illustrator
Erie Island Media
Back Cover: “A BROTHER AND SISTER . . . ARE FORCED TO SHARE ONE JOURNAL!
“This is exactly what happened to 10-year-old twins, Maggie and Max Pruitt. When mom come up with a plan for the summer journal, Maggie and Mas can’t believe it. Worse yet, they have to share! Maggie and Max find out they have some very different (and funny) views about everything that happens over the summer.”
Opening: “Dear Maggie and Max, I bought this summer journal for you to share. I would like you to write about your summer. It will give you a wonderful opportunity to see things from each other’s perspective. Here are the rules: . . . You are both very funny and talented writers, so I can’t wait to read what you’ve written. I love you both!”
Look out Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Dork Diaries, here comes Mom Made Us Write This, another funny diary that makes your sister’s diary a real bore. Mom begins her children’s summer with an assignment. Her rules include things like, “You must read the previous entry before you begin to write, and exceptional vocabulary with earn you extra allowance.” The kids are not amused.
Max, who has a healthy self-image, and Maggie, who is older than her ten years—but then what girl is not—start the journal with a lot of arguing, though it is nice arguing per mom’s rules. Each child choses six of the required twelve summer topics, and may nicely comment on the other’s entry. Unfortunately, this is what they do.
There is no irreverence in the entries. Both children are kind to each other, which is unrealistic at best. Here is Max, at the beginning of the summer, counting on one of Maggie’s entries about the prospect of journaling with her brother:
“Really? You like expressing your opinion? I hadn’t noticed. Ha ha- NOT!”
Maggie is a bit snarky:
“ I wish you would have wet your pants. Now THAT would have been funny . . .no wait, hysterical!” (a heart for the dot over the “i”)
Max decides to write about the zoo, the doctor’s office, baseball, hotels, and grandparents. Maggie choices are getting in trouble, icky babies, Ice Cream Day, Cedar Lakes (roller coasters; renaming of the real Cedar Point), and back to school. Good ole’ mom picked the last topic: what I learned writing this journal. As the summer and the writing moves on both kids write compliments about the other. Actually, good portions of the comments are nice. I expected more differences of opinion about the topics and each other. Ten-year-olds, one boy and one girl, who they agree on so many things, just does not seem realistic.
Mom Made Us Write This is much softer than Diary of a Wimpy Kid or the Dork Diaries with no entry shocking or surprising, making it a great choice for younger children. By the end of the summer, the two are just as courteous as they began. While the author tries to give Maggie and Max his or her own voice, often it is difficult to know which child wrote the entry. You should be able to open and read the book at any page and know if it is Maggie’s or Max’s writing.
I think younger middle grade kids will like Mom Made Us Write This. I like that the author tried to infuse a local Lake Erie site into her writing, such as Cedar Point, which she call Cedar Lakes. I also liked the illustrations, which represent doodles Maggie and Max would draw inside such a journal. I do wonder if readers can support another humorous, middle grade, diary series. Time will tell. I think Mom Made Us Write this in the Summer would have had better appeal had it been released last June, rather than this past October.
Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer
by Ali Maier website book’s site maggie’sblog max’sblog
Joanna Robinson, illustrator website facebook elance linkedin
Erie Island Media (SP) website
Released October 3, 2013
Age 8 to 12
MOM MADE US WRITE THIS IN THE SUMMER, BOOK #. Text © 2013 by Ali Maier. Illustrations © 2013 by Joanna Robinson. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Erie Island Media, Brunswick, OH.
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck by Jeff Kinney (mrsprendergastreads.wordpress.com)
- Dork Diaries (high5for25comp.wordpress.com)
This sounds like a great book. I find one flaw (Star Wars geek about to show) – I find its lack of conflict disturbing. 😉
That’s what I was going to say, Cupcake!! You and me have the same brain. I think the real thing would be very funny indeed.
Uh oh! If you and Cupcake have the same brain, do you realize what this means? Yikes, I forgot, you could only know what half of this means. Cupcake would know what the other half meant, but you’d need to get together to figure out the whole thing. That is a lot of work. Who gets the brain on what days? Just split it between the frontal lobes? Yuck!
Your poor mom person’s. Who’s idea was it to split the one brain between the two dogs? Was it a training aid? Discounted canine day at the Humane Society? A bad experiment gone wrong? Punishment for thinking too much?
Rhythm, honey-boy, what happened!! 😦
It’s a mystery for sure.
Well, if you share the brain one day for you, one day for her, that would explain a lot about Cupcake. If you guys split it in half, that would ALSO explain a lot about Cupcake. 😉
haha! And what exactly are you saying Erik?!
You, my friend, are sensible. Your half-brain must be overloaded with knowledge. 🙂
you are a funny one Erik!
Nice save, Erik!
Another excellent review, Sue, and from what I can see, you’re always spot on! I DO like the premise and agree about the voice and lack of disagreement between the two. Besides, more conflict adds more interest. I love the cover 🙂
I was expecting some fighting and disagreements, especially over the topics. But at the end I thought the two would be more friendly with each other. They were, but they start out that way too. No change except maybe in mom. She isn’t in this but one can imagine 🙂
Sounds like a fun idea for a book AND for an actual summer brother/sister activity! I wonder what that diary would look like if it were the real thing.
This one has lots of little comments, all pretty nice, and lots of doodles, but not as much as a Wimpy diary. It would be an interesting activity to assign a real pair of twins. Next up is a book for adults that the twins write. It is some sort of quiz book. Haven’t seen anything but the cover.