Jenny's Library

Reading Round-up 2013: week 19

Posted on: November 1, 2013

cover image for When You Reach MeWhen You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

When Miranda Sinclair gets a mysterious note asking her to pass on the location of her house key, her mother argues that it doesn’t mean anything. The note, found in a borrowed copy of A Wrinkle in Time, could have been intended for anyone – it might be decades old even. And the note can’t be related to Miranda losing her key two days earlier; why would someone who already has the key ask where it is?  But Miranda’s mom changes the locks anyway.  And Miranda wonders…

When You Reach me takes all the little, ordinary mysteries of being a kid and interweaves them with larger questions about independence, sacrifice, and loyalty – and the paradoxes of time travel.  It’s an elegant and enjoyable novel, meant to be reread, examined, and discussed.

cover image for BreadcrumbsBreadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

Nothing in Hazel’s life is as it should be.  Her father has left and moved away to another city, her best friend’s mother is sick, and everyone thinks it’s strange that she and Jack are still best friends.  Even Hazel’s own mother keeps trying to get her to play more with other girls, instead of Jack.  Now Jack has stopped speaking to Hazel, and everyone tells her that just happens when boys and girls reach a certain age – but Hazel knows something else is going on, and it’s up to her to figure it out.

This was a decent story, but something about it just didn’t click with me.  I suspect I may have liked it better if I were more familiar with the specific fairy tales being referenced.

cover image for The ChangelingThe Changeling by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Martha Abbott isn’t smart, or pretty, popular, or athletic like her older siblings.  Ivy Carson isn’t quite like her family either, something Martha’s mother doesn’t quite understand.  But together, Ivy and Martha make a perfect pair.  And no matter how many times the Carson’s move away and back again, or how long it’s been since the girls saw each other last, Martha always feels more alive, more herself, when Ivy is around.

There’s just something about Snyder’s meandering way of telling a story, and her ability to capture the way that children imagine and play (aware that it’s pretend, and yet somehow also believing it’s real) that I absolutely adore.  I don’t know how today’s young readers would react to this book, but I enjoyed it a lot.

cover image for Everyone EatsEveryone Eats by Julia Kuo

With this single title Julia Kuo has joined my list of “female children’s book authors/illustrators to watch/who deserve more attention.”  It’s superbly done – so much so I’d love to have a larger version to read for story times.  The pattern sentences are by turns predictable and amusing and the illustrations are adorable, full of detail and texture yet bold and graphic.  Looking for something new for the little one in your life? BUY THIS BOOK.

cover image for RokkoRokko by Paola Opal

Rokko’s family is looking for a place to sleep, but can Rokko find the perfect spot?

The big selling point of Opal’s books is, of course, her adorable characters and  distinctive, rounded, and thickly outlined illustrations.  The story here is basic, and commonly used, but manages to not be tiresome despite that.

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