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The Nora Notebooks, Book 1: The Trouble with Ants Hardcover – September 22, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Nora Alpers is not your typical fourth grader. While her classmates enjoy talking about cute, cuddly cats, she is obsessed with facts, especially interesting facts about ants. Nora keeps a notebook in which she writes down all sorts of information about the everyday happenings of ants. Her parents are both scientists and this inspires Nora to study ants in an ant farm in order to write an article about them. She hopes to submit it to a major scientific journal. Unfortunately, none of girls in Nora's class are interested in her aspirations, though her basketball coach, Coach Joe, is a source of encouragement, as well as her friends Mason and Brody. Will Nora find success as a published writer and break the world record for youngest published author of a professional journal? Readers will be drawn into the story by the sincere and realistic characters Mills has created, as well as the pleasing and appealing illustrations found in every chapter. Patrons will be anxiously waiting to find out what the subject of Nora's next notebook will be. VERDICT A solid additional purchase where younger middle grade fiction is needed.—Martha Rico, El Paso ISD, TX
“In drily funny writing and b&w illustrations, Mills (the Franklin School Friends series) and Kath capture Nora’s delightful enterprising and willingness to push the boundaries—sometimes (she knows the limit when it comes to sitting with the boys at lunch). Nora’s genuine love for ants will resonate with children who have a passion for something out of the ordinary.” —Publishers Weekly starred review
“Readers will be drawn into the story by the sincere and realistic characters Mills has created, as well as the pleasing and appealing illustrations found in every chapter.” —School Library Journal
“The bright and charming Nora . . . displays independent thought, vision, and passion, while letting the reader know . . . that science is unassailably cool.” —Booklist
“Middle-grade readers will hope for more Nora Notebooks, soon.” —Kirkus Reviews
Top customer reviews
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Ants aren’t the only things Nora is good at observing. She notices that two of her classmates argue a lot but seem to secretly like each other. She sees that some girls in her fourth-grade class are more interested in boys, clothes, and tea parties than others. And she learns from a school assignment that persuasive arguments can get people to change their minds.
Claudia Mills has created an inspiring heroine in her debut book for The Nora Notebooks series, The Trouble With Ants. Nora is thoughtful, inquisitive, creative, and she is engaged with people and the world around her. She’s a good friend, even when her friends are into things that don’t interest her. Nora’s love of science, and her observations about girls and women in science, are good issues to discuss. They may also inspire girls to look at science a little differently than they did before.
The Trouble With Ants is a great start for a promising series. I highly recommend it for readers aged 8 to 12.
The author provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Pros: It’s refreshing to find a girl protagonist who is passionate about science, while at the same time enjoying basketball and a large group of friends. Fans of Judy Blume or Megan McDonald will want to get acquainted with Nora.
Cons: This is one of those books that you know kids would enjoy, but that lacks a flashy hook to get them to pick it up.