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beTWEEN the Bookends Early Reader Review: “Familiar Faces in New Places” June 2024

Becca Peterson
ByBecca PetersonJun 12, 2024 | 0 comments

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 16-year-old creator. Full-sized 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 as the full-sized boxes but will have only 3-5 gender neutral lifestyle items.

The Cost: $45.00 per month for the gender-neutral box + free US shipping (on a 12-month subscription). Save with longer subscriptions.

This review is of the beTWEEN the Bookends Early Reader gender-neutral 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.)

Summer vacation is here, and after our first week in, I can tell you we are feeling much more relaxed and refreshed! While the weather hasn't been the greatest (lots of rain), that just gives us extra indoor time to catch up on house chores and of course, read! This month's beTWEEN the Bookends box kept Charlie on track to fill up his summer reading log and even contained a snack! Filled with awesome new books and fun lifestyle items, this box was perfect for reaching those reading goals, and becoming a more fluent reader. Read below to see what we discovered.

First Impressions

The contents of this box are packaged neatly in turquoise tissue paper and sealed with a sticker featuring clip art of a boy and girl. The anticipation of seeing what's underneath this tissue paper is always has us on the edge of our seats. We just can't wait to check it out!

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. "If we were meant to stay in one place, we'd have roots instead of feet..." - Rachel Wolchin

Ada Lovelace Cracks the Code by Rebel Girls - Retail Value $12.99

From the world of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls comes a story based on the exciting real-life adventures of Ada Lovelace, one of the world’s first computer programmers. Growing up in nineteenth century London, England, Ada is curious about absolutely everything. She is obsessed with machines and with creatures that fly. She even designs her own flying laboratory! According to her mother, Ada is a bit too wild, so she encourages Ada to study math. At first Ada thinks: Bleh! Who can get excited about a subject without pictures? But she soon falls in love with it. One day she encounters a mysterious machine, and from that moment forward Ada imagines a future full of possibility—one that will eventually inspire the digital age nearly two hundred years later. Ada Lovelace Cracks the Code is the story of a pioneer in the computer sciences, and a testament to women’s invaluable contributions to STEM throughout history. This historical fiction chapter book also includes additional text on Ada Lovelace’s lasting legacy, as well as educational activities designed to teach simple coding and mathematical concepts.

Charlie has to complete a book BINGO card over the summer, and one of the squares reads "Historical Fiction". This Ada Lovelace book was the perfect read to complete this square, and Charlie was really into it. Filled with math, science, measles, adventure, and a love match, it was a quick read that both of us found interesting. Written to give appreciation to Ada who contributed so much to math in the 1800s, both Charlie and I learned a lot and appreciated the inclusion of this book.

The Data Set "Down the Brain Drain" by Ada Hopper - Retail Value $17.99

When Dr. Bunsen gets sick with a bad cough, he insists that he has no time to sleep! He swallowed a top-secret experiment to prove his scientific findings, but now he needs the kids’ help to kick out the cold! And luckily, Bunsen has created a high-tech shuttle that can shrink down and travel inside the human body. Join the kids as they suit up and dive down the Bunsen brain drain!

Charlie received a copy of "The Data Set" Book 1 from Between the Bookends in March 2023, and really enjoyed it, so he was really excited to see the 8th book included in this month's box. While he enjoys the pictures and easy to read text, he also likes the inclusion of the science theories and medical info found in this book. Charlie is a really deep thinker, and this book really engaged him, all while being fun. Awesome!

Custom Zipper Pull

Charlie likes little things, and has always been a fan of keychains, so while he decided he didn't want to use this as a zipper pull, did add it to his keychain collection for his backpack next school year. With a lobster clasp and small chain, this multi-colored keychain features a "Readers Become Leaders" quote on open book pages. Cute in design, but a little hard to read, this was a fine inclusion, but we do prefer some of the other keychains we have been sent in the past more than this particular version.

Monthly Sticker Pack

Charlie loves stickers, and appreciated the bright colors and fun animations that were included this month. Giving me the quote sticker to add to my laptop, Charlie kept the other two to save for his school notebook covers.

TGI Friday's Potato Chips

My grandma always said "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach" and I have to say, she is right. Charlie caught one glimpse of these potato skins and decided this was the best box ever. Crunchy, cheesy, and packed with bacon flavor, Charlie had a grand time munching on these while reading his Data Set book.

Silicone Mold with Recipe Cards

Another item Charlie was fascinated with, was this silicone mold set. Including three recipe cards, he couldn't wait to get the ingredients needed for things like soap or crayons, but had a great time making little ice cubes for his water. With 8 different travel themed molds, these tiny cubes did a great job at capturing the small details, and made water drinking more fun!

"Color Your Own Postcards" Set

Charlie loves to draw, and while he would rather create his own designs then draw on a coloring page, found these postcards satisfying to color. Printed on cardstock, you could definitely throw a stamp on the back and send it to a friend. To keep screen time from becoming a free for all in the summer, I keep a box of crafty things to do on the kitchen counter to remedy the "I'm boreds" and these postcards were tossed in. He has already finished the heart design to send off to grandma Cindy!

Custom Luggage Tag

Charlie wasn't quite sure what the purpose of this luggage tag was for, but now he wants to plan a trip involving an airplane! While we have gone on many road trips, we haven't taken the kids on an airplane yet because of the crazy costs. Maybe my son will convince my husband to plan that Universal Studio trip we've been dreaming of!

Airplane Light Up Sling Toy

After seeing Charlie's face light up with the potato chip inclusion, I thought that was going to be his favorite lifestyle item in this month's box, but the glimmer in his eye really shone when he opened up this airplane sling toy! I'll be honest, this kit isn't of the highest quality, but it is so much fun! Featuring a foam plane body with stickers, I had to look online how to use/build this thing, but it turned out so cool! With a light-up feature, this can be used in the dark, and really flies with a gentle breeze! Charlie loved zinging this into the air and chasing it around the yard. This was definitely his favorite item!


beTWEEN the Bookends is a wonderful way to keep kids engaged in reading, and this month Charlie really enjoyed both book inclusions. While the Data Set book was his favorite, both him and I learned about Ada Lovelace and how much she contributed to the science and math world in the 1800s. While some of the lifestyle items weren't Charlie's favorites, he did love the plane, chips, coloring postcards, and silicone mold, so this month was curated quite nicely. We already can't wait to see what's in store for July!

The beTWEEN the Bookends Gender Neutral box costs $45.00 per month (on a 12-month subscription track), including shipping. Because the books alone are valued at over $30.99, I find the $45.00/month cost extremely reasonable, as the lifestyle items help shape this box into an entire experience.

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 July box.

What did you think of the beTWEEN the Bookends gender-neutral 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 as an Indigenous Support Advocate. I love all things outdoors, beauty, crafts, and food. Living the simple life in the country, we spend a lot of time hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting. Oh, and I absolutely adore my high school sweetheart aka my husband of almost 17 years!

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