Milla Takes Charge (Disney: Daring Dreamers Club #1)
Enter Piper, Mariana, Zahra, and Ruby. Together with Milla, they form the Daring Dreamers Club and become best friends. But can they help Milla believe she's ready for this real grand adventure?
Diverse, talented, and smart--these five girls found each other because they all had one thing in common: big dreams. Touching on everyday dramas and the ups and downs of friendship, this series will enchant all readers who are princesses at heart.
Milla thinks that her moms are anxious and over-protective. Milla has serious food allergies, and she has a scar on her face from a serious dog bite when she was young. Milla desperately wants to be an explorer who has wonderful adventures, but she's pretty sure her moms will never let her actually leave her home. Fifth grade promises many new adventures including new friendships with the other girls in the Daring Dreamers Club, and the chance to go on the fifth-grade overnight trip--if only her moms will sign the permission slip!
MILLA TAKES CHARGE features Milla's strategies to prove to her moms that the overnight trip is something that she can handle. Each attempt to showcase her ability to act responsibly ends in disaster, though, and Milla is discouraged before she even sits down to talk to her parents about the trip.
This book is a lovely start to what promises to be a terrific series. Milla is a great character, and I love her family and friends--including her pet pig, Chocolate Chip. Milla has many of the typical insecurities and challenges that come with her age, and the message of the book is how to meet those challenges with the help of others. Soderberg does a good job writing about this diverse group, and every character is well formed. I really enjoyed Annosha Syed's illustrations, too, and Soderberg ties information of real-life female adventurers into her Author's Note at the end of the book.
In all, this is an empowering, enriching, informative, and fun book for elementary and middle grade readers, and I look forward to reading the rest in the series. My thanks to the publisher and YA Books Central for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
It's always good to read about middle grade characters with particular interests and passions, and the Daring Dreamers certainly have these. Piper is particularly nice about keeping Milla's dietary restrictions in mind, and it's good to see that Mariana still hasn't decided what her passion is. There are never enough books about soccer, so I'm looking forward to the volume with Ruby. I would have preferred some more science of technology related interests, or even something along the lines of engineering or building. While the princess theme is really well done when it comes to encouraging the girls to be active and work toward their passions, there are a lot of books about girls who want to write and sew, so having Milla want to be an actuary would have been a lot fresher!
There can never be enough ensemble books about girls who do different activities with their friends, and The Daring Dreamers Club is a great addition to books like Kimmel's Forever Four, Simon's The Cupcake Diaries, Greenwald's Sweet Treats and Secret Crushes, Margolis's Maggie Brooklyn Mysteries, or Deutsch's The Friendship Code.