My reluctant reader was groaning when I told her we were going to be reviewing and reading a new chapter book. But literally two paragraphs into Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story from Barbour Publishing, she was hooked and didn't want to put it down.
Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story is the hilarious story of E. J. Payne, a precocious fourth grader with a huge imagination. Diary entries from E.J. are interspersed with narrative about the adventures she and her family experience. As a preacher's kid, she is full of stories that make the reader laugh and cry all in the same chapter.
Young kids can truly relate to some of her antics and struggles with her own family members and with their church members. Abbey, my 5th grader, who just herself started her own diary, loved the format of the book.
Each chapter begins with an excerpt from E.J.'s diary, so we get a real feel for the soul of this little girl, and it makes us love her all the more. Each chapter then proceeds to tell the next funny adventure in her life, written with such heart and soul that we just hated for the book to end.
Abbey especially loved that E.J. daydreamed a lot, and had the the funniest imagination of anyone she knew. Abbey, herself a constant daydreamer, I think felt a sense of relief in knowing she wasn't the only kid alive who had trouble staying on task.
Written from a Christian perspective, author Annie Tipton does a wonderful job of weaving the underlying theme of family and grace throughout Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story. She reminds the readers that your family members, no matter how much they drive you crazy, are really important and are your biggest supporters.
Here are some of the fun chapter titles:
- Caution Flag (in which E.J. daydreams about being a race car driver).
- Mrs. Winkle (in which their next door neighbor babysits and hilarity ensues)
- My Life as a Space Cadet (in which E.J. daydreams about being an astronaut and promptly gets in trouble)
- Family Camp (in which the entire family goes to church camp and the adventures that await them)
- Just a Little Off the Top (in which E.J.'s wild hair sort of gets tamed)
Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story is recommended for ages 8 to 12, is 192 pages, and is listed at the wonderfully low price of $5.99 for the softcover edition. At the time of this review, it is on sale for $4.49, so if it sounds like something your young reader would enjoy, don't hesitate to scoot over to Barbour Publishing's website and order it!
We are also excited to learn that Diary of a Real Payne Book 2: Church Camp Chaos will be coming out in March 2014!
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