Cinderella Cleaners is a series about an eighth grader named Diana who's forced to work at her father's dry cleaners after school. I cracked open book 1, Change of a Dress, and was immediately hooked – and not just because it takes place in the town I live in just across the river from New York City!
A great effort from all you BSC fans out there, and a big congratulations to Hope, who was the first person to correctly guess the answers to The Baby-sitters Club trivia post! (I think I tricked some of you with that last question. Sorry!)
Still wondering what the correct answers are? Here you go:
In The Summer Before, Claudia throws a birthday party for herself. Why is she so nervous about this party?
We all know The Baby-sitters Club is a favorite ’round these parts! As we get ready for the re-issue of book #4, Mary Anne Saves the Day, coming in October, I thought I’d get you all in the mood for some BSC action with a trivia quiz!
I took one question from each of the first three books plus the prequel, The Summer Before. Want to test your BSC knowledge? Leave a comment with your answers!
Writing Prompt: My Summer Vacation
There’s a point every summer when I notice how the sun looks in the sky, how it’s positioned differently than it was in June, how it filters through the trees like a painting, how everything around me, even the beaches and lakes, feels muted, a bit heavier, than they did when summer first began. And that’s when I realize that summer is (gulp!) almost over.
This happened to me the other day when I was walking around my neighborhood. It was still hot as ever (I mean, really. Will this heat wave ever end?), but instead of daydreaming about pools, I was daydreaming about kicking up fallen leaves and wearing scarves. Friends, I am ready for fall.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t have great stories to tell about this summer. And now that you all are gearing up for school, organizing binders and laptop folders, and trying to remember locker combinations, it’s the perfect time to take a few moments and remember how you spent your summer.
Practically everyone has heard the expression “the dog days of summer,” but what exactly does it mean? And where did it come from?
I will tell you.
Thousands of years ago, there was a small country called Petville that was ruled by a kind, fluffy, beautiful cocker spaniel named Augusta. She ruled over the dogs of Petville for three long months – three hot, sticky, humid months where rain never fell and all the dog-citizens stopped barking because they were too busy panting. But she instituted new leash laws that all the dog-citizens loved, and called for mandatory daily swims and hour-long fetch sessions. The dogs of Petville were very happy! One day, though, the weather turned cooler, and Augusta realized she had accomplished all she wanted to in Petville. She retired and a tabby cat named Snowflake became the new ruler of Petville, but those days of her successful tenure went on to become known as the dog days of summer.
OK, so none of this is true. But I had you going for a while there, right? That’s the beauty of writing: you set words onto paper, and the world you create becomes a little bit more real.
So for today's writing prompt, pick out a common saying that you or someone you know always uses – maybe something like “It’s raining cats and dogs!” or “He has ants in his pants” or “Caught between a rock and a hard place” or “Every cloud has a silver lining.” Then, write a short story about where that expression came from. The best part? You get to make it up! Think of a silly, clever way that those clichés could have originated.
Leave your thoughts in the Comments!
– Morgan, Scholastic staffer
Phew! I barely managed to pull myself away from Dark Life in order to write this review. Yes, it is that enthralling!
Dark Life is the debut book from Kat Falls. It's set in a disturbing version of the future in which the oceans have risen so much that people are crammed onto the small pieces of land that remain — except for small populations of pioneers who’ve decided to live below land. As in, underwater.
Teen boy Ty, the narrator, launches readers into the action immediately in the first chapter. You see, he's one of those pioneers who lives underwater — full-time! And while there's space and freedom below the sea (unlike on land), there's also danger, especially now that a roving band of criminals threatens Ty and his family's way of life.
And if that's not enough, Ty also has to worry about Gemma, the Topsider (that's the term for people who live on land) who's searching for her missing brother. Not only does Gemma not know anything about life underwater, but she also seems a little too interested in the rumored “Dark Gifts” that Ty and the other underwater kids have.
If you like fast-paced, action-packed books, Dark Life is the perfect summer read for you! Just be careful if you're reading it at the beach. . . you might get distracted looking at the ocean floor and trying to imagine what it would be like to live there!
— Morgan, Scholastic Staffer
One of my all-time favorite books is Dancing Shoes by Noel Streatfeild. In fact, Streatfeild wrote a whole swath of books involving shoes: Ballet Shoes, Tennis Shoes, Circus Shoes, Party Shoes. . . you get the picture.
Dancing Shoes was my favorite of the "shoe" books because it took place in a dancing school, where the characters compete for roles and auditions, not to mention for the attention of the school's headmaster. There's drama! Humor! Intrigue! But all of the "shoe" books are great, and each is aptly named based on subject matter.
So I got to thinking: if I were to write my own "shoe" book, what would it be called? For today's writing prompt, think about your own feet, and the types of shoes that usually encase them. Do you wear cleats most of the time? Hiking boots? Pointe shoes? Snow boots?
What would your "shoe" book be called, and why? Leave a Comment and tell us!
— Morgan, Scholastic Staffer
I’ve been thinking a lot about space lately. Not outer space (though, truth be told, I do think about outer space a lot. . . like how much I love the stars, and what it would be like to live on the moon!), but space in general: the four walls around me at any given time, and how different rooms can inspire different feelings, depending on their color or alignment or what’s nailed to them, or how many windows there are.
For today’s writing prompt, think about the space you’re sitting in right now. What’s hanging on the walls? How are the chairs, desks or couches set up? Are you near a window? Is there sunlight streaming in, or are raindrops knocking on the windowpane?
Now here’s the twist, Splotters! Write a paragraph from the perspective of something in the space around you, addressed to YOU. If you choose the pillow you’re leaning against, for example, write about how the pillow must feel when someone (ie, you!) is all squished up on it. Is it honored that you chose to use it? Is it grateful that it’s offering you some comfort? Or is it secretly laughing at you because your breath smells?
I’m sitting in my office at Scholastic right now, and I’m choosing to write from the perspective of the carpet under my boots. I spill so much on this carpet, I’m sure I can imagine some pretty choice words it would say to me if it could talk. . .
Leave your writing prompt in the Comments!
— Morgan, Scholastic Staffer
Diaries are all the rage. Between the movie release of Diary of a Wimpy Kid to the continued popularity of one of my favorite series, Dear Dumb Diary, I can’t seem to escape those little journals filled with secrets, sketches, and silliness.
So for today’s writing prompt, let’s pretend you are writing a brand new diary — only you’re writing it from the future. Say, 2040. That’s 30 years from now! Who will you be? Where will you be? Maybe writing from the first colony on the moon. . . or from the front seat of your flying car! What will you be doing? What secrets are you dying to reveal?
Try it out in the comments!
Dear Diary, I am writing from the year 2040, and I have lots to fill you in on. . .
— Morgan, Scholastic staffer
If you’re someone who reads a lot—like, a LOT—then it’s probably possible that you’ll read hundreds, if not thousands, of books by the time you’re an adult. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll forget most of the titles and authors that you’ve read, even if vague notions of the story itself still stick with you.
That’s what happened to me the other day when I found a copy of a familiar book sitting on my bookshelf at work: Veronica the Show-Off by Nancy K. Robinson. I was pretty sure I had read it growing up, but I was also convinced that I wouldn’t remember much about it. Only, it turns out I remembered almost all of it—specific scenes, catchphrases, characters, and even the ending. I couldn’t believe how I knew so much about this old book, even though I thought I had completely forgotten about it. It was a total Book Flashback Moment, or BFM for short!
So I got to thinking about other BFMs I’ve had. Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books, Barthe DeClements’ Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You, and Eve Bunting’s Sixth Grade Sleepover. Each of them is a book I must have read dozens of times, but somewhere in between sixth grade and adulthood, I flat-out forgot they existed.
I once knew a girl who wrote down the name and author of every single book she ever read, just for fun — sort of like her own compilation of mini-book reports. And after my Veronica the Show-Off BFM, I’m wondering, how do you all keep track of the books you read? Do you any of you write them down so you’ll never forget them?
And if you don’t keep track (like me!), are you prepared to have your own BFMs in the future?
— Morgan, Scholastic staffer