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About OwlCrate Jr
The Subscription Box: OwlCrate Jr
The Cost: $29.99 per month + shipping. Save with longer subscriptions.
ACTIVE DEAL: Save 10% off your first order
The Products: You will receive one hardcover middle-grade book plus assorted gender-neutral book-related items.
Ships to: The U.S. for $8.99, Canada for $14.99, and varying international rates
OwlCrate Jr February 2021 "Write it Down" Review
This month our theme is "Write it Down" and this little magazine highlights all of the items included in our box. It also includes an interview with the author, some information on their monthly photo challenge, and a fun "fill-in-the-in-between" activity similar to a Mad Libs.
The In-Between by Rebecca K.S. Ansari - Retail Value $16.99
I love that our book has an exclusive cover- this one is so much more vibrant than the original (linked)!
Cooper is lost. Ever since his father left their family three years ago, he has become distant from his friends, constantly annoyed by his little sister, Jess, and completely fed up with the pale, creepy rich girl who moved in next door and won’t stop staring at him. So when Cooper learns of an unsolved mystery his sister has discovered online, he welcomes the distraction.
It’s the tale of a deadly train crash that occurred a hundred years ago, in which one young boy among the dead was never identified. The only distinguishing mark on him was a strange insignia on his suit coat, a symbol no one had seen before or since. Jess is fascinated by the mystery of the unknown child— because she’s seen the insignia. It’s the symbol of the jacket of the girl next door.
As they uncover more information— and mounting evidence of the girl’s seemingly impossible connection to the tragedy—Cooper and Jess begin to wonder if a similar disaster could be heading to their hometown.
This book was such a great pick for a middle-grade subscription box! I just loved how selfless the characters were, and how the author explored their emotions in an appropriate way that I think most kids at this age can relate to. Cooper has been struggling with his parent's divorce and his father basically abandoning them for his new family, and all of these feelings of inadequacy that it brings about, coupled with an extreme sense of loneliness. While he is quick to hide this with anger by retreating from his family and friends, his sister Jess, who has diabetes (another plot point that will hopefully evoke more empathy from readers for those around them), is still hung up on him and sends him messages that go ignored. The two siblings who have dealt with this in such different ways haven't gotten along very well lately, but when a new girl moves in across the street and Jess discovers some interesting facts about her, they work together to solve the mystery, along with a new friend, Gus, who they soon discover is the only other person who can see the new girl. While they can't believe their eyes, they know they have to get to the bottom of this mystery because it could save someone's life. The plot was somewhat predictable, but told with so much heart that I didn't mind it at all, and I really enjoyed the author's note at the back where she explained that some of the events in the book were inspired by real tragedies.
The ending gave me all the good feelings, and I thought it was such a sweet book with how the characters came together, but what I loved most was that the author really explored the feelings that Cooper was having about his father. She hit on some of the ways kids might internalize their parents' mistakes and see them as a reflection of themselves, and at this age, it's such an important idea to explore, and she did it in a meaningful way that I think some kids will find comfort in.
We also received this signed bookplate along with a personal letter from the author.
OwlCrate Jr Exclusive Notebook
Considering our theme, this notebook is a fitting item for this box! I love how the notebook ties into our book since our main characters kept journals as a way to deal with their emotions. This particular notebook features a hardcover with a supercharged design by @stephstilwell and a great quote on the front. The pages are all lined and ready for kids to record their deepest thoughts!
OwlCrate Jr Exclusive Zippered Pencil Pouch
Surprisingly we did not receive any writing utensils in this box, but we did receive this super cute pencil case. I really love the colors which are so unique and the handle on the outside provides a convenient way to carry it. The cute design on the front comes from @janinelecour.
OwlCrate Jr Exclusive Pins
How cute are these pins? These were designed by @stacey.mcevoy.caunt and they would look great adorning your new pencil pouch, or perhaps a new bag....
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Drawstring Backpack & Stickers
Speaking of bags, this cinch bag is perfect for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and it's big enough to hold all of our goodies from this month! This is a super simple bag made from the same material as most reusable grocery bags with no pockets or anything, but it folds up small when empty and it does the trick when you're ready to lug some things around! This item does feel more like a promotional item this month, and it did come with a set of stickers as well.
The stickers promote a new book coming out by the same author, Jeff Kinney. It sounds like a fun one!
100 Great Words Cards by Eeboo - Retail Value $8.99
While we received a lot of great items this month, this set of cards has to be my favorite! I love the Eeboo brand, and these cards with large words on them tie in perfectly with the "delicious words" that Cooper from our story came up with (clever!). There are 100 cards with a word on the front, and then the back features the pronunciation, definition, and a sentence using the word. There is even a checklist for once you've learned a word. My kids each picked one card from the deck that we are all trying to incorporate into our vocabulary this week! We chose meander, quandary, and recalcitrant, and so far they've done a nice job of using them; my older son has found himself in many quandaries, and they've all been advised not to be recalcitrant. It's a fun way to learn some new words that are sure to impress!
OwlCrate Jr Exclusive Sticker
Each box includes a collectible sticker that fits with the monthly theme. How sweet is this tiger design from @hulloitslydia?
Verdict: I loved this month's OwlCrate Jr theme and how perfectly it tied into our book this month! The word cards, notebook, pencil case, and even the Diary of a Wimpy Kid themed items were all appropriate for our main character, Cooper, who kept his own journal full of big, "delicious" words. This book showed kids that it's okay to be full of emotions, and it demonstrated several appropriate outlets for them, which I think is incredibly important. This box was a fantastic one that I hope kids will enjoy as much I did! This box recently increased in price and now costs $38.98 ($29.99 + $8.99 shipping) and our book and cards had a total value of $25.98. That leaves $13.00 for the notebook, pencil pouch, pins, bag, and stickers, which I think is definitely worth it considering most were designed exclusively by talented artists!
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, you'll get the March box—and there's no waitlist at the time of publication!
ACTIVE DEAL: Save 10% off your first order
Value Breakdown: This box costs $29.99 + $8.99 shipping. We received 7 items (counting the bag and stickers as one), meaning each item has an average value of about $5.57.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What did you think of OwlCrate Jr?