Archive for December, 2009

Strawberry Hill by Mary Ann Hoberman (Little, Brown and Co. 2009)

Alice, known as Allie, loves living in an apartment in the Greenberg’s house in New Haven because her best friend is Ruthie the landlord’s daughter. It is the Depression and Allie’s father works in Stamford. He can only come home on weekends. Now, however, her father has rented a home in Stanford with the lyrical name of 12 Strawberry Hill., Allie reluctantly moves. On day one a neighbor, Martha comes by. They are both going to be in fourth grade and Allie has found a new best friend. Martha and Allie notice another girl their age on the block, Mimi, but Martha dismisses Mimi by saying she is a crybaby. The ups and downs of fourth graders’ friendships are minutely observed. Allie gets her first whiff of anti-Semitism when Martha’s best friend Cynthia calls her a dirty Jew. She discovers that Mimi, in spite of Martha’s putdown, is an interesting person. Throughout the book Allie constantly reevaluates what it means to be a friend. She also becomes aware of the cruelty and indifference of her friends’ parents. Glimpses of how the Depression affects schoolmates’ lives impact her consciousness.  This is a gentle realistic book of a young girl maturing.

J Fiction, Recommended –  Lillian Hecker (PEL)


December 23, 2009 at 5:40 pm Leave a comment

Night Wings by Joseph Bruchac (Harper Collins 2009)

Stand back, Sasquatch and Big Foot! Make room for Pmole, a giant creature with a huge wingspan and red burning eyes. He lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where the old Abernaki trails and the old ways are not too distant. Thirteen-year-old Paul lives with his almost silent grandfather Peter in a trailer while Paul’s parents are deployed to a war zone in the Middle East. Grampa Pete served in the Vietnam War, one in a long line of Indian military men in the family who enlisted from the Revolutionary War to the present. He is a scout and knows the woods, lakes, and peaks of the White Mountains. It is no surprise when a small group of bad guys making a TV documentary arrive at the trailer and force Pete and Paul to help them find the ancient treasure of Pmole where it is  hidden at the top of Mount Washington. The book covers the familiar pattern of kidnapping, violence, guns, and a chase. The ordinary, however, is leavened with Abernaki folklore, respect for nature, and Paul’s resourcefulness in the face of danger. This is an old-fashioned action book most middle school boys will enjoy.

J Fic , Recommend- Lillian Hecker (Pelham)

December 21, 2009 at 4:49 pm Leave a comment