Saturday, February 6, 2010

Newbery Winner

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (NY: Wendy Lamb, 2009).

Sometimes I don't like the Newbery winners at all--like Criss Cross a couple of years ago. I like this one, When You Reach Me, but I wonder if it will just be another one of those books used to torture kids during the unit on "award winning books."

This novel has all the elements you would expect in an award winner--literary aspirations, deeper meaning, symbolism, good plotting, believable characters--but no action and nothing gross, so limited kid appeal. I would probably not recommend it to an energetic 3rd or 4th grader, but it will appeal to all the frequent visitors--male and female-- to the school or public library who read everything and enjoy science fiction or fantasy. I particularly like the allusions to Madeleine L'Engle's classic Wrinkle in Time, which happens to be the favorite book of this novel's main character, twelve-year-old Miranda. And it's a good thing since she'll use her in-depth knowledge of the book to digest the odd events that she narrates here.

This one is fine for 3rd grade & up, though younger readers may not understand some of the time travel discussion.

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