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Paris for Two

Paris for Two cover

Title:    Paris for Two
Author:   Phoebe Stone
Series:  —
Recommended for:  tween girls
Pages:   257 p.
Call Number/Link:   J Fiction Stone, P.

Rating:  ***

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Twelve-year-old Petunia is used to living in the shadow of her fourteen-year-old half-sister, Ava, their mother’s favorite.  Now that the whole family has moved to Paris for a year, Pet finds herself stepping into the light, making new friends, uncovering secrets, and, inspired by the classic French dolls she has found, revealing an unexpected talent for designing dresses–and her beautiful sister does not take it well.

Comments:

I was curious when I saw a book titled Paris for Two in the juvenile fiction collection.  Between the title and the cover, my first guess was that it would be a romance.  For kids who read juvenile fiction?  Yikes!

Happily, I was wrong.  The book was about Petunia’s experiences in Paris.- dealing with her family, making new friends and time spent designing/sewing dresses.  It is an understatement to say that Petunia and her sister weren’t close at the beginning of the book.  I was so bothered by the way the mother and older sister treated Petunia that I almost abandoned the book within the first 50 pages.

But it was set in Paris so I continued to read.

While I primarily consider the book realistic fiction, it also has bits of historical fiction, some parallels with the Cinderella story and snippets of innocent romance.  It seems to me to have a fairly narrow intended audience:  tween girls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2016 in Juv, Realistic

 

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The War That Saved My Life

War That Saved My Life cover

Title:   The War That Saved My Life
Author:   Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Series:   –
Recommended for:   grades 5 and up
Pages:   316 p.
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION BRADLEY, K.

Rating:   *****

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A young disabled girl and her brother are evacuated from London to the English countryside during World War II, where they find life to be much sweeter away from their abusive mother.

Comments:

I hope this book wins the next Newbery Award.

It takes place in England at the beginning of World War II, and is the story of two London children who are evacuated to Kent to protect them from wartime dangers.  Ada and Jamie aren’t chosen by any of the villagers who are willing to foster evacuees, and wind up at the home of an isolated woman who didn’t have any experience with children.  Thankfully, she feeds them, clothes them and (best of all) has a pony they can ride.

I think my favorite aspect of the book was the character development of the protagonist (Ada) and their guardian Susan, the growing relationship of Susan and the two children, and other friendships Ada develops in the village.  Their lives are so much better away from their mother’s abuse, and Ada learns that she is capable of many things.

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2015 in Historical, Juv

 

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Freedom Song: The Story of Henry “Box” Brown

freedomTitle: Freedom Song:  The Story of Henry “Box” Brown
Author: Sally M Walker
Recommended for: 4-8 years old
Pages: 32
Call Number/Link:  E WALKE 

Synopsis:  Henry Brown copes with slavery by singing, but after his wife and children are sold away he is left with only his freedom song, which gives him strength when friends put him in a box and mail him to a free state.

As we have had a lot of people from children’s lit classes coming in and asking for historical fiction picture books, I really wanted to give them the highly acclaimed Henry’s Freedom Box.  Unfortunately, this assignment was too little, too late, and we weeded the book because it hadn’t gone out in years.  I was delighted to find out that we had another book on the same topic that had avoided that fate!

This fictionalized true story is sensational.  There is a transcribed letter at the end which is a historical document outlining Henry Brown’s escape.  There is artistry in the storytelling, using songs as a device to drive the story.  It is too long for a preschool audience or for a storytime, but for a one on one readaloud or for use in a classroom, this book is a gripping way to tell a real story.

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Echo

Echo cover

Title:   Echo
Author:   Pam Munoz Ryan
Series:   not applicable
Recommended for:   Grades 6 and up
Pages:   585 pages
Call Number/Link:   TEEN FICTION RYAN, P.

Rating:   ****

 

 

Synopsis:

Lost in the Black Forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and finds himself entwined in a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica–and decades later three children, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California find themselves caught up in the same thread of destiny in the darkest days of the twentieth century, struggling to keep their families intact, and tied together by the music of the same harmonica.

Comments:

I’d heard a lot of positive buzz about Echo so decided to read it. The book was well-written and I appreciated that the children in the book were able to survive very difficult, seemingly hopeless situations thanks to music.  (They were also helped by a magical harmonica).  I’m a fan of books with intertwining stories which come together at the end of the book.  There were moments when I couldn’t believe that the author would be able to pull off a logical ending that tied everything together, but she did.  The downside of the book was that I cried when the sadness of the children’s situations overwhelmed me.

Echo would be a great choice for readers who like tearjerkers, historical fiction (particularly World War II), music, and books with entwined stories.

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2015 in Historical, Teen

 

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