Deuteronomy 6:6-7

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Barbour Publishing - Diary of a Real Payne Book One: True Story - A Review

So, last month I was approached with the opportunity to review this chapter book titled Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story . This chapter book, which has been put out by Barbour Publishing features a plucky young girl from Wisconsin, who has a huge imagination and large aspirations for life. How in the world could I refuse what sounded like such a charming read? I was also pretty sure that my girlie girls, who are enthusiastic readers, would be happy to add a new book to their library.

First things first, let's talk about the book. The star is EJ (short for Emma Jayne) Payne. She is from Spooner Wisconsin, where, according to her, nothing big ever happens there. To quote EJ herself, it is "the single most boringest place in the universe".
On the positive side, she has a wonderful family. There's her mom, who teaches second grade at the local elementary school. The thing that stands out about her mother is her beautiful hair, which is long and blond. And she doesn't put it up with just anything, but with all varieties of items. These include, but are not limited to, chopsticks, pencils, paper clips, and even pipe cleaners, which also happened to save the day at church for EJ's father on one occasion.

Then there's her father. He's the pastor of Vine Street Community Church. He especially loves games, and is quite good at inventing them.
Isaac is EJ's 5 year old brother, and like most siblings, can be the typical annoying little pest, but she loves him.
The last member of the Payne family is a Cockapoo mix dog named, get ready now. . .Matthew Cuthbert T-Rex Payne, but you can call him Bert. You know that with a name like that, he's got to be an awesome dog.

Each chapter begins with a journal entry from EJ. It's very cute too, the pages look like they are from a notebook, the text font is a bit whimsical, and there are little doodle drawings on the pages. After these diary entries, the rest of the chapter is a narration of her day to day life.
Now, one thing about EJ that her parents are continually doing what they can to (gently) reign in, is her very active imagination. She has a tendency to get sidetracked by vivid daydreams. She claims its out of sheer boredom with the little town they live in, but her mother encourages her to see what God may have planned for her even in her ordinary circumstances.

EJ is skeptical though, and that thought takes a backseat as the middle of the book is filled with very cute and zany adventures of this fourth grader and the various people she finds herself interacting with. Then along comes the holiday season, along with the Christmas play. Will she get the coveted role that she desires? Will she finally find the adventure that she craves? I hate to leave you hanging here, but there would be little point in reading the book if I disclosed too much. And honestly, this is such a fun book to read, for grown ups as much as for the younger set! I will say that the ending is a sweet one, and left us looking forward to March 2014, when Book 2 of this series is due to come out :)

We used this as a read aloud with all of us taking turns at a chapter. It was kind of funny to me that my eldest, who loves to read, but not aloud, was not crazy about taking her turn - at first. Once we got rolling into the story, she was actually requesting more pages to read. Success!
I think that the age range of 8-12 years is spot on, and as I said before, I enjoyed reading it myself :) I was also surprised - in a good way- about the price. It lists for $5.99, which in my opinion is a good deal, but to make it even sweeter, you can find it on the website on sale right now for just $4.49. Great to pick up for gifts, don't you think? All the way around, we like this book a lot, and worth checking out.

Barbour Publishing

Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story

Ages: 8-12 years

Price: List - $5.99 but right now you'll find it on sale for $4.49 on the website -yay!

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