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beTWEEN the Bookends Early Reader Review: “Booking into a New School Year” September 2023

Becca Peterson
ByBecca PetersonSep 14, 2023 | 0 comments

beTWEEN the Bookends
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beTWEEN the Bookends is the first monthly book and lifestyle box created for kids by a teen herself! Boxes follow a monthly theme and contain age-appropriate books and lifestyle items that have been read and hand tested by Jillian, the 14-year-old creator. Full size boxes contain 2-3 books and 6-8 lifestyle items, while mini boxes include 1 book and 3-5 lifestyle items. The new gender-neutral boxes will contain the same 2-3 books in the full boxes but will have only 3-5 gender neutral lifestyle items.

The Cost: $55.00 per month for the full-size box + free US shipping (on a 12-month subscription). Save with longer subscriptions.

This review is of the beTWEEN the Bookends Early Reader Full Size box. 

These boxes were sent to us at no cost to review. (Check out our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we review boxes.)

I seriously can't believe that summer is over. It literally feels like we just went skipping into summer vacation, and here we are already back to school. Two weeks in and it honestly feels like we have never left. Because we were singing the "Back to School Blues", we were quite happy to see the beTWEEN the Bookends box sitting on our doorstep after a particularly long day. Filled with Back to School items and awesome new books, this month left the kids a little more excited to return to school. Read below to see what we discovered in the September box.

First Impressions


As the full-size box is curated with girls in mind, this version comes wrapped in bright pink tissue paper featuring a pigtail-donning cartoon sticker. Cute!

Here's What's Inside

Welcome Pamphlet


To start off the box, we go through the included pamphlet. Describing the month's theme and the contents of every Between the Bookends version, this little book lets us know exactly what the box contains, along with a bookish quote, social media info, and a hint about next month's theme. "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the word." - Albert Einstein <--- isn't that the truth?!

Dave the Unicorn: Welcome to Unicorn School by Pip Bird - Retail Value $5.99


Welcome to Unicorn School, where you get your own unicorn best friend! You go on magical quests together! There is glitter! There is even more glitter! Mira can hardly contain her excitement as her fellow students are paired with their unicorns. Darcy is assigned the statuesque Star, whose shimmering coat always catches the light. Raheem is matched with Brave, whose every step reverberates like thunder. And Mira is paired with...Dave. Dave loves doughnuts. He doesn't follow directions very well. And he farts. A lot. Mira is a little disappointed. But she soon realizes Dave is unlike his fellow unicorns in another way: He's a little smarter than they are. When a school trip goes awry, the only way to save the day is for Mira to embrace her unexpected unicorn best friend.

Charlie wasn't quite sure what to think of this book when he first saw the cover, but after giving it a chance, he found it hilarious. He loved the fact that Dave farts a lot, and was giggling throughout the entire book. Suited perfectly for a 2nd-3rd grader, Charlie enjoyed the illustrations, and was really excited to see there are other books in this series. Always remember - never judge a book by its cover!

Most Valuable Players: The Gold Medal Mess by David Kelly - Retail Value $5.99


Five friends are ready for their school’s Olympics field day. There will be relay races, archery contests, and more! But not everyone wants to play fair—someone is trying to ruin the events! Can the kids in the Most Valuable Player club solve the mystery, save the Olympics, and take home the gold? Perfect for kids who love to compete in all kinds of contests and have fun with great friends, David A. Kelly’s new series teaches readers that when you’re a most valuable player, you love sports, always show spirit, and never give up! And don’t miss bonus back matter filled with cool sports facts in every book.

This book was an absolute perfect fit for Charlie. He too has five buddies that are quite close knit and are VERY competitive. Perfect for my 3rd grade reader, there were some illustrations, and the story was quite easy to follow. We have a little experience with MVP books, but not this particular one, so it was an awesome inclusion. Charlie and I have been reading it before bed each night and have enjoyed it very much!

Buildable Pencil Holder Craft


After receiving two awesome books, Charlie couldn't wait to dive into this month's lifestyle items. Up first was a woodcraft assembly kit, and he couldn't wait to start building. With colored pieces, this kit turns into a sunflower pen holder, and the wood parts seemed of good quality and popped out nicely. Because the directions were only three diagrams with arrows, we had to take it apart and redo quite a few times adjusting as we figured it out. Charlie needed a little help with this because some of the wood pieces fit very tightly and he was worried they might break. After a little time, we were able to get this together, and he was quite satisfied with the end results. Bringing it up to his room, he now has his pens all organized.

Exclusive Owl Fuzzy Socks


Charlie loves fuzzy socks, so he was thrilled to receive this embroidered pair. Perfect for fall temps, these socks feature a little book on each ankle, and fit both of my kids' feet. Bath time couldn't come soon enough for Charlie, as he wanted to put on his jammies and new socks to then curl up on the couch and read. 🥰

Leather Heart Bookmark Duo

At first glance, Charlie wasn't quite sure what the purpose of these cute little leather hearts was, but after reading the pamphlet, discovered they are corner bookmarks. While cute, they didn't hold onto his page very well, and he got frustrated when they fell out of his book. We discovered these worked better on thicker pages when you put a few together, so will use them on those type of books instead. Cute colors too!

Monthly Sticker Pack


We all know that Charlie is a sticker fanatic, so he of course was impressed with the back to school themed stickers. While he doesn't have an exact use for these guys right now, he did place them in his sticker folder and thought he could add these to his teachers Christmas card. Such a sweet boy!

Pencil Shaped Bath Bomb


The back to school theme really struck a chord with Charlie, and he went nuts for this pencil shaped bath bomb. This kid loves all bath bombs, but he was really impressed with the trio of colors and the adorable shape. Loving the citrus scent, he was extra excited to take a bath to then put on his fuzzy socks. What a day this box delivered!!

Frost Themed Stationary Set


Perfect for back to school, Charlie also received a pencil, pencil sharpener, eraser, and ruler set. This froggy boy set is adorable and useful. While Charlie can't have these small sharpeners in his pencil case at school, he brought everything else, and thought the clipart was different and fun.

Correction Tape


This was the one item that was a bit lost on Charlie, but was handy for mom. We don't have any white out or correction tape at home, so when I make a mistake I generally start over or just scribble if I am using pen. Pre-computers this was used quite often, so I was able to show Charlie how this worked. An interesting inclusion in a kids box, but one that was a bit nostalgic for me, and of course the deer and squirrel on the case were adorable!

Cat Fan Pen


Charlie definitely got a kick out of the cat fan pen that was included this month, and was wishing this box had arrived a few days sooner. Our first day of school, the outdoor temp was over 90 degrees. This is not typical in Northern Minnesota, so our school does not have air conditioning. With over 600 kids and staff in that building, you can imagine how warm it got, and Charlie was wishing he had this fan for that day! With a big plastic head, this kitty pen has a small nib, and is obviously quite top heavy, but does give a good breeze when waved! Another perk of this pen- it won't go missing easily! 🤣

Gruffalo Spot It Game


"The Gruffalo" book was one of Charlie's favorites when he was little, so he was really excited to see what this "Spot it" game was all about. Featuring the illustrations from the book, the goal is to be the fasted player to spot the matching symbol between two cards and call it out. A fun game for kids and adults, this was a great inclusion, and one that is travel friendly!


With summer basically over, it is a bit sad to say goodbye to all of the summer things, but also a welcome sight for a new season. In that new season, beTWEEN the Bookends Early Reader box really pulled out all the stops for this September box. Between the books and lifestyle items, Charlie was a fan of just about everything. Including items that are useful and functional for at home and at school, we really liked the Back to School theme, and thought it was well done. If you have a kid that loves reading, or is struggling to find books they enjoy, we highly suggest this box, as it really makes reading enjoyable and fun.

The beTWEEN the Bookends Early Reader Full-Sized box costs $50.00 per month, including shipping. Because most items were small shop created specifically for this box, I wasn't able to calculate an accurate value estimate, but dividing it by the items we received equals to about $4.54 a piece. Because of the thoughtful curation, fun theme, and enjoyable products, I feel the $50.00 price range is definitely fair for the quality of this box and the number of items.

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!

Other Things You Should Know

Can I still get this box if I sign up today? beTWEEN the Bookends tends to ship the first week of each month. Order now to receive the October box.

What did you think of the beTWEEN the Bookends full-sized box? 

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beTWEEN the Bookends is the first monthly book and lifestyle box created for kids by a teen herself! Boxes follow a monthly theme and contain age appropriate books and lifestyle items that have been read and hand tested by Jillian, the 14 year old creator. Full size boxes contain 2-3 books and 6-... read more.

Becca Peterson
Becca Peterson

I am a wild and crazy mom of 2 boys and work in the public education system. I love all things outdoors, beauty, crafts, and food. And absolutely adore my high school sweetheart! 

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