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Summary: Siti (the lead sister) and her family are the center of this story, one in this series about girlfriends in school. What starts out as a family outing, with Siti taking her siblings to the mall, becomes a nightmare when Siti turns her back and suddenly loses her brothers and sister. What will happen? Are they alright? This book is full of life-lessons learned. This is a chapter book series for reluctant readers (reading at ages 7-8).
Type of Reading: family reading, read aloud book, remedial reader
Recommended Age: read together: 7 to 10; read yourself: 9 to 12
Interest Level: 7 to 10
Age of Child: Read by an 11-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: The reader could not relate to being able to take her siblings out to the mall without Mom or Dad but she recognized some of the bad choices Siti and her siblings made throughout the story.
Adult Reader Reaction: I´┐½ve not really warmed to these stories, as I can´┐½t get excited. You need to be very careful about the level of maturity your reader has, since part of the story talks about ´┐½two boys dragging off a crying child´┐½ and that might be too upsetting for the younger end of the target audience spectrum in terms of readability.
Pros: This is a quick read. Kids and adults will both find it easy to relate to the paralyzing fear one has when a poor choice has the chance of really going wrong.
Cons: Having read several of the titles in this series, I keep getting this ´┐½lack of responsibility´┐½ vibe and I believe it may be because I see this series as watching the girls make mistakes with an outcome that is cloudy. Everything seems to turn out OK in the end, even though I´┐½m not sure that would be the case in real life.
Borrow or Buy: I wouldn´┐½t borrow or buy this book. Under the pretext of being a simpler read, I found it´┐½s text a bit too skeletal. What I see in the best books for reluctant readers is an mix of engaging text and limited vocabulary. I didn´┐½t find this text particularly engaging.
Educational Themes: After reading this book, a discussion (or a writing event) can be encouraged. The discussion could center around bad decisions, siblings and responsibility or growing up. A strong writing prompt such as ´┐½write a different ending to this story´┐½ could bring strong and personalized ideas to the forefront (often an important stimulus for reluctant writers).
Literary Categories: Fiction - friendship, easy reader series
Date(s) Reviewed: December 2007
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