We received Diary of a Real Payne Book 1:True Story from Barbour Publishing. The book is recommended for ages 8-12, is 192 pages long, and at the time of posting is on sale for $4.49; regular price is $5.99.
It’s written by Annie Tipton, and tells the story of Emma Jean (EJ) Payne, a 4th grader living in Spooner, Wisconsin who has big dreams and imaginations as she goes about her days. Like lots of other girls, EJ has a pesky younger brother in Kindergarten that she has to deal with. Her Dad is a preacher, and her Mom is also involved in the church, so EJ comes from a good Christian home.
The book is based upon the diary that EJ keeps, and the beginning of each chapter begins with her diary, and continues on further with her adventures in more detail. There are also some great Christ-like love lessons throughout the story, which I love. EJ reminds me a little but of myself when I was younger, since she’s such a daydreamer; so was I in my younger years, but I imagine that most children are. She even daydreams of becoming a NASCAR driver, which we can relate to somewhat since my husband and oldest son really enjoy watching the races every week.
One integral part of the story is when EJ is chose to be an angel in the Christmas play instead of the role that she really wanted to play as Mary. EJ was pretty discouraged that she didn’t get the role that was most important to her and that she felt was the best. Thankfully, she has wonderful family and friends who really encourage her so that she realizes that her role as an angel is very important.
One thing that turned me off somewhat was the level of name-calling that went on throughout the book. I realize that it’s probably a normal thing that goes on in even strong Christian homes (shoot, my kids call each other names often…it’s something we’re working on), but I would have liked to see it toned down a bit. However, I do love that the message of love and forgiveness are shown in the story.
I gave this book to Rach to read on her own since she relates to it the most (big sister with 3 younger brothers!). She read it in her spare time (as did I), and enjoyed the story very much. The book itself and the chapters aren’t terribly long, and I think it’s a great length for the recommended age group. I do feel like girls will enjoy it more than boys since it’s written from a girl’s perspective, however I do plan to use this as a real-aloud book with the kids later on.
Overall, I do really like this book and definitely recommend it for your family. If I weren’t reviewing it, it’s not something I would want to sit down and read myself as it wouldn’t keep my attention for long, but it is an enjoyable story for kids, and does tell the message of Christ’s love. Be sure to click below and read reviews from other crew members!