curriculum reviews

Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story Review

We had the opportunity to review a fun book called Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story, from Barbour Publishing.  This is the first in a series by Annie Tipton.  There’s something fun about reading diaries!  This book takes you into the life to Emma Jean (EJ) Payne, a 10 year old with a great imagination!

We enjoyed this entertaining book.  There’s no potty humor in this one!  The author’s writing style incorporates EJ’s diary entries, day dreams and family life, all while sprinkling in humor, life lessons and Biblical teaching.  The story is set in the boring, boring town of Spooner, Wisconsin where EJ’s father is a pastor, her mother is a teacher and her brother annoys her.  As you read her story you are taken to EJ’s world, where grocery trips turn in to race car races and playing on the jungle gym at recess takes her into outer space.  EJ’s active imagination always seems to be taking her to some very interesting places.  She always gets brought back to reality with a start.  Like the time her Mom waved her yellow scarf as the warning flag as EJ’s shopping cart/race car, narrowly misses the glue display!

I read this with David (7).  He thinks EJ is neat, she has fun adventures and he loves to hear what she’s thinking about.  But I think David relates more to EJ’s little brother Isaac.  Isaac is 5 and about to start Kindergarten.  He’s all boy and loves to annoy his sister.  He doesn’t do it on purpose, he’s just doing what a 5 year old boy does.  He loves dinosaurs including “Tricycle” his little triceratops.  This is the one he chose to take to the first day of school.  He, Tricycle and EJ had to all hold hands on the way down the hall.  EJ was not as amused as Isaac.

We got to meet Mrs. Winkle, EJ’s neighbor.  She’s the creative artist type.  While EJ and Isaac were there they got to play with their food (then eat it), play Winkle Scrabble (make up words and make a definition for them) and read Mrs Winkle’s coffee table book “Aristrocrazy Through the Ages”.  Her book is “all about crazy things kings and queens have done throughout history”.  Some of the stories were about King Nebuchadnezzar and King Xerxes and the crazy things they did.  What a perfect way to add some Bible stories in there.

I think the recommended ages (8-12) where exactly on target.  David was a little young for this book, but still enjoyed it.  He will pick up on a lot more of the story when he re-reads it in a year or so.  Allie (14) has read other Diary books and was able to compare them for me.  She really liked the wholesomeness of this book and the Biblical content.  She did say that it was a little young for her, but she still enjoyed reading it.

This 192 page paper back book is available from Barbour Publishing for $5.99.  Book 2: Church Camp Chaos is scheduled to be released  March 2014.


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