All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

One of my favorite books by far, Jara Dairman did an excellent job on her amazing book, All Four Stars. Jara’s spectacular book is about a young chef named Gladys. Gladys is a near perfect chef except for one thing, she is not allowed to cook. After a… misfortunate incident with a blowtorch, crème brûlée and her family’s curtains, her parents banned her from the kitchen. In this beautiful book, we follow Gladys as she adventures through life without cooking, trying to survive the 6th grade, making new friends and even writing gourmet reviews for New York’s most important newspaper, the New York Standard.

The mouth watering descriptions of food and spunky personalities in this book get people off the couch to make fancy pastries and leave us erupting in fits of laughter. With each chapter I felt more and more connected to Gladys up to the point I read a sentence in first person on accident! In conclusion, All Four Stars is a spectacular book that should be in every young chefs, or food lovers, hands. Don’t forget to read the rest in this marvelous series.

-Isa M.

All Four Stars by Tara Dairman is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Everything You Need to Ace World History in One Big Fat Notebook

This book covers the social studies units from 6th to 8th grade. It starts off with 6th grade, covering prehistory and the Paleolithic era. It overviews hunter-gathers, early society, and the beginning of the domestication of plants and animals. Then we move onto the Neolithic era, where hunter-gatherers slowly become unnomadic. They begin to live in villages and alter land to their needs. This becomes the Iron Age when people started to smelt iron, copper, gold, and other ores. The Iron Age is also when early civilizations spring up like Mesopotamia (Sumerians, Akkadia, and Babylon), Ancient Egypt, Bantu, Kush, Phoenicia, Israel, Jerusalem, The Indus River Valley, Maurya Empire, Ancient China, Ancient Greece (Athens, Sparta), and Ancient Rome. The book intricately explains how each civilization had its own impact on everyday culture. Next, the book covers the Middle Ages (including the Byzantine Empire, Islam, Aztecs, Mayans, Medieval India, China, Medieval Japan, Middle Age Europe, and the European Crusades). The Middle Ages goes from 400 CE to 1500 CE. Next comes the Renaissance and Reformation (1350-1650) and the Age of Exploration (1400-1800). 

The Age of Exploration was when Columbus discovered America, and this lead to the Revolution and Enlightenment in Europe (1500-1865). This is included revolutions in science, math, monarchies rising and falling, the U.S revolution, the French revolution, the U.S civil war, the industrial revolution, and the Women’s Rights Movement. Next comes the Era of Imperialism (1800-1914). This was when Africa became a popular colonization spot, when Japan modernized, and the Spanish-American War. That leads to world conflict including WWI, The Great Depression, Political Shifts, and WWII. Finally, we have Post WWII – Today. This final unit covers the changes in Europe, The Cold War, Independence Movements, and Global events. 

This book has helped me a lot during essays and narratives we have to make in class. It is a great read, despite essentially being a glorified notebook. This book also has definitions, diagrams, drawings, and vocab words you might need to know. To sum it up, the book Everything You Need to Ace World History in One Big Fat Notebook (by the people who made Brain Quest) is an amazing history study guide from grades 6th-8th. Whether it is for fun, or if this book sounds like it would be helpful, I recommend reading this book.

-Izzy W.