Thursday, April 1, 2021

A Book Review: Sidney and Sydney

     Hi! This week I was a bit confused on what I was going to review, until I thought about a sweet chapter book that my family got my sister for her birthday. This is a bit "younger" than most of the books I've been reviewing here, but I still think it's worth posting about!

    This review has no spoilers.

    (The discussion questions will have spoilers, since they are supposed to be used after reading the book.)

Title: Sidney and Sydney

Author: Michele Jakubowski 

Series: This is the first in a chapter book trilogy featuring Sidney and Sydney. After checking out the rest of the books in the series, I think you can easily read them as standalones.

Synopsis: When Sidney Fletcher moves to Oak Grove, things get a little strange for Sydney Greene. Not only does Sydney share a name with a boy, but he's in her third-grade class! From first-day-of-school problems to Halloween drama, Sidney and Sydney quickly become friends. Who says boys and girls can't get along?

Language: One boy in Sidney's class calls him "Squidney", a nickname he doesn't like, and teases him a couple of times. "Dorky" and "ugh" are used once. 

Violence: None

Romance/Sexual Stuff: None, although Sidney mentions that having a girl as a friend is not the same as a girlfriend. 

Spiritual Elements: Though focused more on the candy and costumes, the characters do celebrate Halloween in this book. 

Magic: None

References: None

Other Issues: Monsters (as part of a prank) is mentioned. One of Sidney's friends, Gomez has an older brother who plays mean pranks on him. There's one instance of rude humor (someone looking like he would "pee his pants"). 

Though not technically an issue, it's mentioned that Gomez has Type 1 Diabetes. This is very tastefully handled and a good introduction to what Type 1 Diabetes is, especially if you don't know a lot about it.

Where to Buy: Sidney and Sydney is available on Amazon, eBayBarnes & Noble, Abebooks, Book Depository, Alibris, Indigo, and Better World Books

My Age Range: I think kids aged 8 and up would enjoy this book the most. 

Read Aloud: I think this would be a good read aloud, though here it might be better if the reader is the one sharing the book with a member (or more!) of their family.

My Opinion: I found this book on a library shelf a few years ago. I thought it looked interesting, so I brought it home to read. Though I didn't have any strong personal opinions/changing experiences through reading the book, I still enjoyed the book and thought it was a great story for its target audience. 

    While this book is as lighthearted, fun, and relatable, as, say, the Judy Moody books, Sidney and Sydney stood out to me for a couple of reasons. First was the perspectives of both a boy and a girl. I liked how while even many middle grade books are encouraging and focusing on young love, Sidney and Sydney continue to pursue a strong friendship, and show how you can get along with someone well even when your interests and hobbies seem totally different. The second thing was how accessible this book is to budding readers. Pictures, large type, and the ability to hook the reader even with limited vocabulary allows this story to be a gentle but exciting first step into the world of chapter books. Third, and probably the most important to me, was how the author wrote Gomez being a diabetic. I liked how the author tackled the issue while also making it clear that while it affected him, diabetes did not define Gomez as a person. It also gave Sidney a chance to be a better friend, too.

    If you have (or are) someone who's just getting started reading bigger books, like stories about boy-girl friendships, or just want something quick, clean, and easy, I would definitely suggest finding a copy of Sidney and Sydney!

Discussion Questions:

-What would be harder for you: starting a new school, like Sidney, or having a teacher you don't want, like Sydney? Why?

-Look up what the names "Sidney" AND "Sydney" mean. Are they the same or different? Do you think the meanings describe them or not?

-What was your favorite part of this story? Why?

-Do you like Sidney or Sydney better? Why? 

-Even though they both liked candy, what did Sidney and Sydney do when their friends said they couldn't have any? What do you think this tells you about them? If you were Sidney or Sydney do you think you would have done the same thing? Why or why not?

    Thanks for looking at Sidney and Sydney with me! I hope you'll consider checking the book out. If it doesn't seem like something you'd read, please think about recommending it to someone else.

   I am still open to interview and review requests. Please click on my Review Policy page for more info if you want to suggest a book or post for me. 

    With that, I have an announcement: I am NOT doing a Week of Book Memes in April. (Late April Fool's, I guess!) While I usually plan to do a Week of Book Memes every other month, I'm saving it for May this year so I can blog about a few fun surprise topics. As always, feel free to click HERE if you're interested in what this Week of Book Memes are all about, or want to read through some of my past Week of Book Memes posts.

    Next week...well, I'm not sure what I'm going to post. Stay tuned!


  1. AWESOME REVIEW, GIRL!!!!!! I was also really impressed when you mentioned the story had a kid with diabetes in it. I've never heard of a story for that young of an age group with characters like that and think it's really great to see authors venturing out into those areas in children's books!!!!!!!!! This book looks like SUCH a fun one!!!! THANK YOU SOOO MUCH for sharing!!!! <333

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed the review! Yeah, I really love seeing stories like that, too, especially since it doesn't seem to be mentioned a ton. Another great read like this is "The Great Shelby Holmes" by Elizabeth Eulberg. You should be able to find my review of it on the "Book Reviews" page under the E names.

      Thanks for stopping by!