2014 Fit Lit Archives

February/March Favorites:

 

Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord: (We LOVED this!!!)

 

Twelve-year old Lucy and her parents have moved from an apartment in Boston to a lakeside cottage in New Hampshire, and her father, a prominent nature photographer, is immediately off to Arizona for a photo shoot. Her apprehension over fitting in at a new school is temporarily allayed when she is welcomed by Nate, whose family is spending the summer with his grandmother in the house next door. Kayaking, hiking, and loon-monitoring with Nate, Lucy chronicles their experiences using her own budding talent for photography. When she learns that his Grandma Lilah's failing health is keeping her from observing her beloved loon family up close, she and Nate devise a plan to rent a motorized raft to take her out on the lake. Their plan, however, involves a deception-Lucy will use Nate's name to enter a photo contest to be judged by her father. Newbery Honor winner Lord (Rules, Scholastic, 2006) has combined vivid, cinematic description with deft characterization and handles several important issues with sensitivity, nuance, and great skill. Lucy grapples with ambivalent feelings toward her self-centered father, rivalry in the face of new friendships, and an ethical dilemma in her decision to enter the contest and to use, against Nate's will, a photo which captures his grandmother's dementia. Readers will be absorbed in the well-paced plot, sympathize with the concerns of a likable protagonist, learn a bit about photography, and consider the impetus of using one's creative talent for good or ill. A deeply enjoyable read.—Marie Orlando, formerly at Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY

 

 

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd:

 

A delightful and inspiring debut. Mama has a wandering heart, which means that 12-year-old Felicity Pickle and her little sister, Frannie Jo, have wandered along with her in their battered van. But Midnight Gulch feels like home, and not just because it's where Mama grew up. It's one of those quirky little towns where there just might be magic. It's the characters that make this story shine: gruff Aunt Cleo and her tongue-tied swain; Oliver and Ponder, purveyors of unusual ice cream and baked goods, respectively; Jewell Pickett, hair-stylist and auto-mechanic extraordinaire; and her son Jonah, who has the amazing ability to make things better for anybody, despite his own difficulties. And Felicity, who sees words everywhere and uses them in remarkable ways. She's a girl who loves deeply and openly, and who creates her own kind of magic. Added to these elements are a series of folkloric backstories about feuding brothers, doomed romances, mysterious do-gooders, lost children, and a curse. Mibs Beaumont and her magically gifted clan from Ingrid Law's Savvy (Dial, 2008) would feel right at home here. As Felicity loves to say, "Yes…yes…yes!"—Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library

 

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee :

 

Ophelia is a grieving 11-year-old who only believes in things that science can explain. Following her beloved mother’s death, her father takes a job at an enormous museum in a city where it constantly snows. There Ophelia discovers the imprisoned Marvelous Boy, who discloses to her that in three days the Snow Queen will discharge her wretchedness upon mankind. He further reveals that he must save the world before that happens and that only Ophelia can help him. As the boy tells his story, Ophelia accepts the challenges required to release him from his three-hundred-year captivity. She faces magical snow leopards, child ghosts, a Spanish conquistador, and a monstrous misery bird—none of which, like the boy, can be scientifically explained. Nevertheless, Ophelia learns there are truths she never dreamed of and that courage is less about bravery than about the decision to help people in need. Loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, this clever story-within-a-story reads easily yet offers deep lessons about trust, responsibility, and friendship. Grades 4-6. --Jeanne Fredriksen

 

 

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