And I am delighted welcome my youngest nephew, Cooper Kirkpatrick, to help me with today’s review. Coop is 10 and about to start 5th grade. He likes to play soccer, baseball, and video games, and he also loves to draw. }
The Nickel Nuisance and The Penny Predicament (Books 1 & 2 of the Coin Chronicles) by Veola Vazquez, illustrated by Lauren Boebinger Lewis
About these books: (from the publisher) The Nickel Nuisance. Jake is tired of feeling like a loser. Failure at baseball, feeling like a wannabe at school and facing bullies like a weakling, that’s his life. He’s starting to wonder if things will ever change or if even God can fix his problems. It’s not until he comes across a rare nickel with an intriguing story that life really starts to look different. But will things get better? Or will Jake end up feeling like an even bigger loser than before?
The Penny Predicament. What would a 12-year-old boy do to help save his family from financial ruin? In Jake King’s case, he’d do just about anything. But uncertainty sets in as his plans go awry, his friendships start to fail and his faith takes a few hits. Finding a rare coin worth a fortune might be the answer. But what if it’s not real? Will Jake lose his best friend and his family’s future at the same time? Only God knows and, hopefully, he’ll let Jake in on it.
About the author: Veola Vazquez, Ph.D. is a psychologist, professor, and inspirational speaker who specializes in childhood issues. She lives in southern California with her husband and children. Visit her website at veolavazquez.com.
About the illustrator: Lauren Boebinger Lewis is a graphic designer who gets excited about the potential for design to help communicate the gospel to the world. View her original typographic verses at hisword-typographicverses.tumblr.com.
Genre: Fiction/Christian Fiction/Middle Grade/Action & Adventure
If this book were a movie, I would rate it: G
[Tweet “Just in time for a new school year, 2 books for tweens @Veola_Vazquez”]
Cooper’s take: The Nickel Nuisance is an awesome book because the author describes the characters so well. You can picture every moment. I like this book because Jake King is around my age and is terrible at sports. Also the author makes it seem as if you were in the book. Whenever I wanted to wrap up the chapter and stop reading for a while, just looking at the next chapter’s title made me want to continue reading.
The Penny Predicament, in my opinion, is not as good as the first one because Jake King is suddenly good at sports. But it’s still funny because Jake has no common sense, and it’s good because he learns a very important lesson in this book.
The author’s style is just right, and she really seems to understand what a kid may be going through at this age.
The illustrator’s work fits the story, but sometimes the pictures come too far after or before the scene happened. Still, the pictures helped me envision the story.
I especially recommend this series to coin collectors.
My two cents: I found Veola’s writing voice to be pitch-perfect for her target audience. If my own kids were younger, I would have enjoyed reading both of these books aloud to them, and I reckon they would appeal almost as much to girls as to boys. As a mom, I appreciate the gentle moral lesson imbedded in the story, and while kids are likely to learn from it, they’re even more likely to simply enjoy the fun of a tale well told. The illustrator’s artwork adds icing to the cake.
Thanks to the author for providing free copies to review. All opinions are Cooper’s and mine.
After words: What are your kids reading this fall?