The first book runs in tandem with Little Women; the second, Much Ado About Anne, with Anne of Green Gables; the third, Dear Pen Pal, with Daddy Long-Legs; and the latest, Pies and Prejudice, with...well, I'm sure you can figure that one out. The books deal with all sorts of contemporary pre-teen issues: bullying, trying to fit in at school, loss of a parent, getting a step-parent, getting a new sibling, being embarrassed of your mom, trying to balance different types of friendship, romance, etc. vis a vis the heroines of literature and seeing how they had to deal with the same situations.
Here is a Library Journal Review of Pies and Prejudice:
"With four effervescent heroines, several budding romances, an ambitious cooking venture, and a hefty pinch of drama, Pies has instant teen appeal, even more so if readers are Anglophiles. When Emma's family announces they are moving to England for a year, the book club selects Pride & Prejudice in honor of their adventure and keeps up regular meetings via webcam. Austen fans will appreciate the character nods: Emma deflects the advances of a Mr. Collins-like oaf, Megan falls for the amiable Simon Berkeley (aka Mr. Bingley), and Cassidy spends much energy detesting Tristan Berkeley, the obvious but nonetheless enjoyable Mr. Darcy character. For teens who may not recognize these parallels, the author makes them clear with quotes at the head of each chapter, as well as pointed comparisons made by the characters themselves. With interesting facts about Austen interspersed throughout, and a visit to relevant sites in England incorporated, this book makes an excellent introduction to one of the most masterful–and popular–writers of all time. Don't be surprised if 12-year-olds start checking out Pride & Prejudice after reading this teen-tailored adaptation."
In short, the books are sweet and funny (and clean) and I wish I had written them, but my hat's off to Heather, who also has a really fun blog. I would say the books are perfect for 9 to 12-year-olds, but I bet 13- and 14-year-olds would enjoy them, too. Also 41-year-olds.
In other news, today is the last day of school for this week because tomorrow are Parent-Teacher conferences, and Friday is a teacher in-service, which is the brilliant way our school escapes the drama of Halloween every year.
I got Lucy's first quarter report card the other day, which is what we'll be discussing at the P/T conference. This is my girl who every day, when I ask, "How was second grade today?" without fail answers, "AWESOME!" I'm not worried. At the beginning of the year at the parents' open house, her teacher told us that at least in the first report card, she does not give grades above "3" (Consistently achieves the standard) or "S" (Satisfactorily meets expectations). The highest grades are 4 and E. Lucy got one 4, for her independent reading goal, and one E--in art. The rest were mostly 3s and S's.
Here was her teacher's comment: "Lucy has adjusted well to 2nd grade. She is a fun-loving and creative child. Her skills are solid at this time. She loves chatting--often at inappropriate times, which I hope to help her curb. She is delightful!"
I dunno--does this lady get my daughter, or what? I think we will have fun, "chatting" together tomorrow.
Oh and just to add--the other day, Lucy came home and said, "Mom! We rearranged our seats at school and now I'm next to Lily and Tomas so we can chat as much as we want to!" I put that as my status on facebook, and my friend Tom said, "Somehow I'm seeing Lily as Ethel and Tomas as Ricky."
Lastly, tonight is Trunk or Treat at AWANA, and the girls are supposed to come dressed as their favorite Bible character. This was their conversation coming home from church last week:
Lucy: I want to dress up as either Queen Esther or that Egyptian princess who got Moses out of the water.
Elaine: I'm gonna dress up as Eve.
Lucy: ELAINE! That means you would go to AWANA without any clothes on. Not even your UNDERWEAR.
Elaine: Oh. I do not get that at all.
I told them that I had already bought the Halloween costumes they wanted (that have nothing to do with the Bible) and I don't know how to sew, so unless they want to wrap themselves in my pashminas and be Mary and Martha, they can just wear their playclothes like always since it will be dark out in the parking lot and no one will notice anyway.
There's only so much a mom can do, can I get an amen? To go along with that, I'll leave you with this great post by my friend Alysa. Now, knowing her, she probably would whip up Bible costumes on a moment's notice...but she'd never make you feel bad that you didn't! Love you, girl!