My rating: 4 of 5 stars
While this looks like the usual “quiet” book – the kind that adults rave about and kids ignore – I do think this one will have real appeal for a certain kind of child. The type who notices details and nuances of mood, the kind who feels things strongly and likes reading stories that acknowledge that in between place of being ten. Reading this, I kept thinking, “I remember that feeling!” And for some kids, I think that kind of acknowledgment can be incredibly validating.
The development of setting (you’ll wish you could stay in Scallop) characters (flawed and nuanced) make this book stand out. I’m relishing the fact that the plot centers around details – that it’s the little shifts in mood and circumstances that have such a great effect on Alice. To me, Henkes really gets the essence of being a kid – whether in a chapter book like this or in his picture books.
One thing the book could have used more of is Henkes characteristic humor. This would have lightened the book a little and not sacrificed any of the other themes, I think. Still, I’d recommend it. It would be a great winter read to give you a sense of vacation, just like Alice’s annual winter trip to Florida.
Source: my public library