Friday, November 19, 2010

#40 - Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan

2003 Honor Book

Another milestone - the big 4-0!! I'm slowly, but surely making my way through this very long list!!

"Jake Semple is a scary kid. Word has it that he burned down his old school in his home state. Only weeks into September, the middle school in Traybridge, North Carolina, has thrown him out too.

Now there's only one place left that will take him - a home school run by the most outrageous, forgetful, chaotic, quarrelsome family you'll ever meet. Each and every Applewhite is an artist through and through - except E.D., the smart, scruffy girl with a deep longing for order and predictability. E.D. and Jake, so nearly the same age, are quickly paired in the family's first experiment in "cooperative education."

The two clash immediately, of course. The only thing they have in common is the determination to survive the families' eccentricities. In Stephanie S. Tolan's hilarious tale, a local production of
The Sound of Music - directed, stagecrafted, choreographed, and costumed by Applewhites - brings the family together and shows E.D. and Jake the value of the special gifts they've had all along."

This was a fun book with a nice story of a "bad kid" turned good when put in just the right environment. I love how Jake found his niche in this story.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

#39 - Lily's Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff

1998 Honor book
"As in past years, Lily will spend the summer in Rockaway, in her family's summer house by the Atlantic Ocean. But this summer of 1944, World War II has changed everyone's life. Lily's best friend, Margaret, has moved to a wartime factory town, and, much worse, Lily's father is going overseas to the war.
There's no one Lily's age in Rockaway until the arrival of Albert, a refugee from Hungary with a secret sewn into his coat. Albert has lost most of his family in the war; he's been through things Lily can't imagine. But soon they form a special friendship. Now Lily and Albert have secrets to share: They both have told lies, and Lily has told one that may cost Albert his life."
This was a sweet story about an unlikely friendship cemented by a common bond - families affected by World War II. Patricia Reilly Giff has been one of my favorite children's authors since I was a child myself. This was another great piece of her work!