Friday, December 19, 2008

Nikki and Deja: Birthday Blues Karen English

Nikki and Deja: Birthday Blues (Nikki & Deja) by Karen English, I came upon this by chance while flipping through a children's catalog of upcoming releases. Its the second book featuring best friends Nikki and Deja. Deja is about to turn eight, and her birthday party is coming up. One of the things I loved about Nikki and Deja is that it wasn't a signal focused storyline. Nikki and Deja still had to do a map of their neighborhood and a presentation for social studies. It wasn't all about the party , though Deja does like to remind Nikki it was coming up to get her way but what seven yr old doesn't do that with their best friend. Antonia a girl from Deja's class decides to throw a just because party the same day has Deja's birthday party. Antonia hands out her inviations first. Deja waited too long to give out hers and now one may come to her party. Of course it works out in the end but it was not an easy fix. Some of the funniest parts came when Deja had to stay with Miss Ida an older neighbor while, her Auntie Dee goes out of town on business. Miss Ida still has a rotary dial telephone (there's a picture), a black and white T.V. with a rabbit ear antenna. I really enjoyed this story and little girls will love it. From the cover I thought it was going to about the same reading level as Junie B. Jones or Willimena Rules. I was very excited to discover it was slightly higher since there don't seem to be enough books featuring black characters for children who are past early readers as previously mentioned and are not yet ready for Sharon Flake or Nne Okorafor Mbachu. Nikki & Deja Birthday Blues comes out January 19 and the first book Nikki & Deja will be released in paperback.

Time to Share - Nikki tries one of Miss Ida's candies

"Nikki eyes widen, and she immediately looks at the dish of peppermints on the coffee table. She smiles broadly. Deja can't help but giggle as she holds the dish out to Nikki. "What's so funny?" Nikki asks plucking a peppermint from the bowl. "Nothing " Nikki pops the candy in her mouth and tries to suck on it, then begins to chew slowly. Deja bursts out laughing watching the look on Nikki's face go from anticipation to confusion. Nikki chews and chews and finally swallows. "What's wrong with this candy?" "Its kind of old." Deja's giggle turns into a laugh. "You should have seen your face."

1 comment:

Mary Ann Scheuer said...

I'm just reading this now, and really enjoying it! There aren't a lot of early chapter books with African American characters, and I think girls will really like this. I like how easy it is to relate to Deja & Nikki - their worries and friendship seem like ones every girl has. Thanks for sharing!