Today on Books in Review I have to tell you about a new middle grade novel called “The Wild Robot” by Peter Brown.
This is Brown’s debut novel, after such picture books as Children Make Terrible Pets and My Teacher is a Monster (No, I am Not), and what he did for picture books, he does equally well for middle grade readers. Roz is a robot and she has washed up on the shore of a remote island with no idea how she got there, why she is alone or how she will survive. The animal inhabitants think she is a monster and run from her. But through patience, observation and a lot of trial and error, Roz learns how to survive. But it is not until she takes in an orphaned gosling that she finally becomes part of the island. I loved everything about this book – it’s about robots, it’s a survival story, and it even has battles and bear fights, but it’s also about teamwork and family.
The Wild Robot would make a great family read aloud, as there is lots to discuss. Or just read it because it is a great story.
Today on Books in Review I have a new young adult novel that is truly a must read for all ages.
“Girl in the Blue Coat” by Monica Hesse is set in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, and focuses on Hanneke – a girl whose life has been upended by the war. Forced by the war to grow up, she cares for her family by delivering black market goods to rich clients around the city. She has her ways for dealing with the Nazis, and it’s basically by avoiding them at all costs and enduring their presence. That is, until she is asked to find a missing girl – a missing Jewish girl. It is through this task that she meets members of the underground student’s organization working to save Jewish children and to help people get into hiding. Her eyes are opened to the deportations and the ill-treatment of the Jewish population. Now the horrors that she has previously ignored are all too obvious and she can no longer remain inactive in the face of obvious evil.
Well-researched and thoroughly engrossing, Girl in the Blue Coat brings us back to the Amsterdam we first met through Anne Frank.
Today on Books in Review I have a great book, “Be Frank with Me” by Julia Claiborne Johnson.
MM Banning is a reclusive literary legend, having written one famous book, she basically withdrew from the public eye for years. Until, she got bamboozled out her money and now needs to write another book to secure her future and that of her son. Wait, she has a son! Frank is 9, and to say he is precocious is an understatement. Incredibly intelligent, eccentric and socially deficient, to put it mildly, he is an experience unto himself. Alice Whitley is the young brand-new publishing employee dispatched by the publisher to help shepherd the book to completion, but her job is actually to be Frank’s companion. After a series of trial and errors, rule number 1, don’t touch Frank!, rule number 2, don’t touch Frank’s things!, she falls into the strange rhythms of the house and under the spell of Frank, the most endearing, wonderful and unique soul she has ever met.
Be Frank with Me is at turns hilarious, touching, ridiculous and unconventional, but altogether a captivating read.