Book Review: Third Grade Mix-Up (Sidney and Sydney Book 1), by Michele Jakubowski and Luisa Montalto (Illustrator)

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Third Grade Mix-Up (Sidney and Sydney Book 1), by Michele Jakubowski and Luisa Montalto (Illustrator)

When Sidney Fletcher moves to Oak Grove, things get a little strange for Sydney Greene. Not only does Sydney share a name with a boy, but he’s in her third-grade class! First-day-of-school drama has them at odds, but Sidney and Sydney soon find out that they share more than just their names. Can boys and girls actually be friends?!

Age Group: 7 and up
Hardcover: 128 pages
Publisher: Picture Window Books (February 1, 2013)

My Thoughts:
Sidney and Sydney are victims of the very common crime of sharing the same name (spelled a little differently) with another person.  While the story is cute and has a subtle message of kindness, it falls a little flat.

It is not a new theme in children’s books to have a boy and girl become friends.  It happens in almost every book I’ve read.  However, the nature of their friendship is charming.  Sidney’s mom is an artist, and Sydney wants to be an artist when she grows up.  Sydney loves Galaxy Conquest, which just so happens to also be Sidney’s favorite video game.  When problems with Halloween arise, Sidney and Sydney decide to do something creative and selfless so that everybody wins.  

The plot is fairly simple, and nothing really stands out in it.  I had been hoping for more of an issue to happen than the one that did.  But this is the first book in the series, so much of the book is dedicated to establishing the children’s friendship. 

Third Grade Mix-Up is a quick, easy read that most kids would enjoy, but probably not fall in love with. 

The Illustrations: I love the inclusion of full color illustrations throughout the book.  Not every page has artwork, but most pages do.  Luisa Montalto has a unique style that goes perfect with an early reader novel.  

Amazon | Goodreads | Author Website | Artist Website

About the Author:

Raised in the Chicago suburb
of Hoffman Estates, Michele Jakubowski has the teachers in her life to
thank for her love of reading and writing. Appropriately enough, it all
started in the fourth grade when her teacher read the class Judy Blume’s
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. Michele was so entranced, in fact,
that when a class assignment that same year had her writing a letter to
someone important, she chose to contact Ms. Blume; she couldn’t wait to
tell her of her plans to become an author someday as well. After reading
the rest of Judy Blume’s books while in grade school, Michele was
introduced to the classics by her seventh grade English teacher (Ernest
Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea was a favorite). Two exceptional high
school teachers motivated Michele to keep reading and To Kill a
Mockingbird and Catcher in the Rye were the books that inspired her to
write. Although she grumbled her way through Algebra and Chemistry while
at Northern Illinois University, Michele loved her creative writing and
literature courses. It was while completing her BA in English that a
friend turned her on to the works of John Irving, a must-read author for
her still today. While writing has always been a passion for Michele,
she believes it is the books she has read throughout the years, and the
teachers that assigned them, that have made her the storyteller she is
today. It is in appreciation of these great works and wonderful people
that she strives to create relatable and entertaining characters that
may one day inspire a budding new author.

Michele lives in Powell, Ohio with her husband John and their children Jack and Mia.

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