"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."

-C.S. Lewis

What we read has such an impact on us, and I am always on the lookout for something that will inspire me to be a better person. Here is a sampling of books that have been in the teetering stack sitting on top of what is rumored to be my bedside table.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Samantha Sanderson: At the Movies, by Robin Carroll

This middle grades book for Christian girls is the first in a series about Samantha Sanderson, a seventh grader with a passion for journalism.  In this installment, Samantha tries her hand at investigative reporting as she tries to solve the mystery of who planted a bomb at the local movie theater.

I wasn’t a fan of this book.  As a parent and an educator, it bothers me that Samantha resorts to fairly sneaky tactics to gain information for her articles.  Eavesdropping and disobeying her father are just the start.  And although Samantha comes to her father for forgiveness at the end of the book, she still has the attitude that it was all in the name of good reporting.  Add to that her BFF, a girl who will be recognized by readers of this age as a hacker for several of her actions.  For example, she admittedly breaks past the school firewall so she can access information that has been blocked.  This kind of thing is seen as endearing.  There are never any consequences for it, even though this would be a suspendable offense in most public schools.

In terms of the plot, it became very repetitive.  Samantha blogs an “article” that’s really more of a libelous op-ed piece.  She gets called in by the school principal and the newspaper teacher.  Her dad gets upset and her reporter mom warns her about libel.  Then, she wakes up and does it again.  Wash, rinse, repeat until the case is finally solved and everyone who criticized her before now lauds her for her amazing journalistic prowess.

I’d want to read another Samantha Sanderson book before deciding whether I want my daughter to read this series.  But based on this book, it would be a no go.  For me, it would be a one star book, but I’m giving it an extra star because it did have appropriate advice on witnessing.

Two out of Five Stars

Disclaimer:  I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.