Friday, October 25, 2013

Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story - Barbour Publishing Review

Do you have a creative kiddo?  How about a daughter with a real imagination?  Have you had a chance to actually look at some of the fiction books that are available to young girls to read?  Not all of them are bad, but they don't always portray the best values that our children should be following.

Lydia is just now getting to the point of attempting chapter books.  But she loves imaginative activities and loves to write stories that are different.  We were very excited to get a chance to review Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story ($5.99) by Annie Tipton from Barbour Publishing.

EJ Payne is a 4th grader that LOVES imagination.  She can turn any event from a shopping trip to doing the laundry into something fun.  Unfortunately it is also a downfall.  EJ gets so lost in her imagination that she forgets real life.  Adults tell her that she needs to get her head out of the clouds and call her space cadet.  Sometimes though poor EJ has trouble even with that and starts daydreaming in the most boring situations, including doing laundry.

I spend a lot of time pre-reading the books that the boys are reading.  Joey has a tendency to take bad habits he reads about too far, and so my thought is...."If the seed isn't planted....".  Joey and I started reading Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story together and he said that he enjoyed EJ's adventures.  We laughed and laughed at the silly situations that EJ landed herself in.  From pretending her shopping cart is a race car to learning how to be nice to the crankiest of neighbors and the meanest kids in school, EJ kept us entertained and wondering what would happen next.

Lydia started attempting the book and it is over her reading level, but it has been a great read-aloud for her.  I am very happy with Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story because of the good values it works at showing kids.  Lydia is loving the fact that Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story is about a girl..."yep a girl" (those are Lydia's words) "That can have fun and adventures.  Adventures are not just for boys.  We can have fun too!"

EJ is having fun, but understands that she needs to try and control her daydreaming.  Her parents do not get really upset at her, but gently try and guide her in the right direction.  They are teaching her about God and reliance on Him.   

EJ's parents are also encouraging her and her brother Isaac to help others.  Whether it be the really mean CoraLee from school or the grouchy neighbor down the street Mr. Johnson, they encourage the kids to show love for neighbor...even if they are not nice to you.  I really LOVE this example that is shown throughout the book.  

I cannot emphasize enough how happy I was to have a diary book that wasn't encouraging inappropriate behaviors, that can hurt others.  Or actually showed how you could bully your siblings.  Yes those books can be funny, unless you are the guy/gal getting hurt in some way.  I don't like the kids behavior after reading them.  

I have noticed that Joey and Lydia have actually been "writing" more in their own journals.  So EJ has been a good influence on them.  After our read-aloud time, there was no repeating of inappropriate phrases or picking on each other in the ways they had just heard about (like they would from the other series).  

Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story is written for Ages 8-12, and Lydia is on the low end.  But the girls have enjoyed this book as a read-aloud.  Can't wait for Book 2!!  

Several members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew has the opportunity to try Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story.  Be sure to visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog to see how they enjoyed Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story in their homes.



  1. My daughter is very imaginative and loves to read. This sounds perfect! Thank you for sharing!!

  2. Thanks for your review! I love that your kiddos are writing more in their journals. :) Thanks for joining EJ (and me) in our adventures!