Category Archives: novel

The Underneat by Kathi Appelt

The Underneath The Underneath, Kathi Appelt.
Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-1-84738-311-2

This book.
What a book it is.
Not poetry really, but such a story.
Woven around some kittens and a hound.

This story is dark, heavy, gripping. Yet light as a feather. I couldn’t put it down – wanted to taste the words and swirl them around on my tongue. How does one author make such words, put them in such a delicious order?
This author.
She is a story spinner.

Some stories are built on strong characters, with strong settings. A plot.
This story has all that, spun out of wonderful words.
It draws you in, like the whirlpools in the dark river in the story.
I was scared. Scared for the kittens and the hound.
Scared of the snake and the gators.
Scared of the darkness of the man.

But there was light, too.
Light of love, and hope.
Always hope. Hope for a happy ending…
This is a story to read aloud, share with children the story this author spins.
If you are a writer, read these words. See how she spun them. Into a story that will tug at your heart strings. A story of love and friendship. A story of deep running hatred. A scary story that is beautiful.
Part folklore, part fairytale. A tale set in the south.
A tale that you will not soon forget.
Oh, such a tale.

Awards for The Underneath:

  • Borders “Original New Voices”
  • Book Sense “Pick of the Week”
  • Starred review, Booklist Magazine
  • Top Ten Bestsellers, Indie Bound
  • Finalist, The National Book Awards
  • John Newbery Honor Book, ALA
  • Finalist, Heart of Hawick Children’s Book Award
  • PEN Center USA Award Children’s Literature
  • Winner, Writer’s League of TX Award for Children’s Literature
  • New York Times Bestseller

http://www.kathiappelt.com

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

When Billie Jo is just fourteen she endures heart-wrenching ordeals that no child should have to face. The quiet strength she displays while dealing with unspeakable loss is as surprising as it is inspiring.

Written in free verse, this Newbery Award winning story is set in the heart of the Great Depression. It chronicles Oklahoma’s staggering dust storms, and the environmental as well as emotional turmoil they leave in their path. An unforgettable tribute to hope and inner strength.

I completely fell in love with the language of this book. Not all Newbery books are books that I love, although most of them are. And that medal on the cover always makes me want to read the book, just to see why the judges felt it was worthy. Out of The Dust is powerfully written and deserves this recognition. It made me want to read all the free verse novels I could get my hands on. Love the genre. Karen Hesse says more with fewer words. Read it!

Where River Turns to Sky

Where River Turns to Sky, a novel by Gregg Kleiner, HarperCollins

Weaving a tale of immense power in his magical voice, Kleiner tells the story of a man determined to realize an improbable dream after the death of his best friend. Eighty-year-old George Castor promised he would never let his best friend Ralph die alone at the Silver Gardens Nursing Home — but Ralph passed on while George was away fishing. Distraught, guilt-stricken and seeking redemption, George buys a broken-down mansion in  Oregon, paints it fire-engine red, and begins searching for other old folks to share it with him. Because George has made a new promise that will alter the course of the rest of his life. And, with the help of a miraculous old woman named Grace, he assembles a ragtag bunch of aging strangers, determined to make their last days on earth–and his own–an adventure.

I discovered this book while living in Oregon and enjoyed the humor. A great read if you need a relaxing summer book. Would make a fun movie, too!

Author’s website: http://greggkleiner.drupalgardens.com/content/welcome

Clementine, Sara Pennypacker

Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

In this first book of the series, Clementine tries to help out her friend Margaret, but ends up in a lot of trouble for it. Things get worse each day of the week, until finally she’s worried that Margaret is right: Clementine’s parents might consider her to be “the hard one” in the family. They’re up to something mysterious…are they thinking they’d be better off if they only had her little vegetable-named brother…”the easy one”?
I love Clementine because of her spunky, individual voice. Her character rings true and I can recognize real several little girls in her. A great example of ‘voice’, this is a wonderful book to read aloud at bedtime to 5 – 8 year olds.

Hyperion Books
Paperback, 160 pages
http://sarapennypacker.com/pennypacker-clementine.htm