The Vanderbeekers Make a Wish — Review

Thought for the Day:

“Mere literary talent is common; what is rare is endurance, the continuing desire to work…”   
~ Donald Hall ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

Elizabeth Sims wrote an amazing article for Writer’s Digest HERE that will give you 7 Ways to Add Great Subplots to Your Novel. It has terrific examples.

Melissa Donovan at Writing Forward always has helpful posts. HERE she has one on How to Break Through a Fiction Writing Block.

Staci Trolio has some good advice HERE on the Story Empire Blog that will give you some important Do’s and Don’ts of Story Beginnings.

At last, it looks like the Sacramento area is going to get some real rain. I have battened down the hatches as best I can here (with some help from my favorite son-in-law) and plan to stay in as much as possible the next few days. This makes me very happy. We have been in a terrible drought here, the worst, they say, in over 1200 years. We had one storm about a month ago that brought lots of rain (five inches in a day!), but then nothing since. Here I am cheering a big storm, while in other parts of the country horrible storms have devastated people in several states at a time of year it just doesn’t happen. It seems Mother Earth is going to make us all pay through climate change for treating her so badly for so long and ignoring all the warning signs. We all need to do better.

Last week I offered a copy of The View from the Very Best House in Town by Meera Trehan to one of you. I offer extra chances to those who share my link on social media, and this time it paid off for Carol Baldwin. Congratulations, Carol! For those of you who don’t know Carol, she is an author and writing teacher from North Carolina. She has wonderful reviews and interviews on her blog, cleverly named Carol Baldwin’s Blog, and also produces a newsletter called Talking Story with fellow NC author Joyce Moyer Hostetter. Click on their titles to see them. Carol, I will get your book out to you soon.

This week, I would like to tell you about the fifth book in the Vanderbeeker series by Karina Yan Glaser. I haven’t read all of the books, but I have read a couple of the others. I like the old-fashioned feeling about these stories. I think they remind me quite a lot of books like Anne of Green Gables and the Little House books that revolve around families and their communities, but this series is set in modern times in Harlem, and the cast of characters is really something. When I saw this fifth book available for review from the San Francisco Book Review, I grabbed it. The Vanderbeekers Make a Wish, is every bit as enjoyable as the earlier books. Isn’t that a gorgeous cover? I recommend the whole series. Here is the review I wrote for SFBR.

Papa is about to turn forty, and the family has planned a surprise party for him, his best friend’s mother dies, and Papa has to fly to Indiana, but he will be back in a few days. In a total surprise, Mama’s parents arrive the day Papa leaves. They are staying the whole week! Grandma seems to criticize everyone for everything — Isa doesn’t play the violin well enough, Oliver doesn’t study enough, they all eat too much cheese, and Grandpa never says a word. The kids find a letter Papa’s father, Pop-Pop, had written to Papa just before Pop-Pop died that had never been given to Papa. It sends the kids on a quest for more information about Pop-Pop and his plans for a trip while under the watchful glare of Grandma.

Karina Van Glaser and friend

The latest volume in this wonderful series will not disappoint Vanderbeeker fans. The characters, including neighbors and pets, are all completely believable. The Vanderbeekers are a special group, quirky, loving, and inordinately kind and caring. Their home, a brownstone in Harlem, New York, makes for an interesting setting for this group of fiercely independent, worldly-wise children. This book will charm and satisfy readers.

I have no giveaway this week since I will donate the nice hardback copy I received. Don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE. He always has links to several middle-grade reviews, and he writes reviews on his own blog two or three times a week. See you here soon!

18 thoughts on “The Vanderbeekers Make a Wish — Review”

  1. Glad you are getting some much needed rain. I haven’t started this series, but it sounds like a great one. Glad to know you don’t have to read all the books in the series to plunge into it. Glad you’re donating this book to the library.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t believe I haven’t read any of the books in the Vanderbeeker series. Your review reminds me a bit of Natalie Lloyd’s “The Problim Children” series, with quirky kids on a quest. Sounds like a really fun read. Thanks for reminding me about this series.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree – I love the Vanderbeekers for their ageless feel. I haven’t read one of those books for a long while… now I’ve got to check some out for winter “snow day” reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have to add my guilty conscience to never having read any of the Vanderbeekers’ books. Someday it will happen as I keep reading reviews like yours as to how great they are.
    Thanks for the links. Love the last one on the pros and cons of story openings.
    Concerning the drought, the Denver area had its first snow of the season (a whopping three tenths of an inch!) It was the latest first snow ever going back to the 1800s. Things will only get worse until more of us treat this climate change as real.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I hear so many great things about this series, Rosi—I don’t know why I haven’t read any of the books yet! I checked, and my library has all 5 books on Libby—this is the kind of book I would normally buy, but I probably won’t because I am currently drowning in books, so perhaps just clicking a button and placing a hold on book 1 is something I can commit to. Thanks for the reminder to look into this series!

    I’m glad you all are finally getting some rain—that’s definitely nice, even if it means you won’t be going out as often (that’s just an excuse to read, pretty much!). But yes, considering all the awful storms, it really is alarming how global warming is affecting things. I love the meme and quote this week! Thanks so much for the wonderful review, Rosi, and happy holidays!

    Liked by 1 person

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