Tag Archives: Newbery contender

Small Magic

11 Sep

Grandpa Ephraim is dying.

And Micah is about to lose the only family he can remember. So he and Grandpa Ephraim are holding out for a miracle, one that can only come from Circus Mirandus.

Unknown

Publisher’s Summary:Do you believe in magic? Micah Tuttle does. Even though his awful Great-Aunt Gertrudis doesn’t approve, Micah believes in the stories his dying Grandpa Ephraim tells him of the magical Circus Mirandus: the invisible tiger guarding the gates, the beautiful flying birdwoman, and the magician more powerful than any other—the Man Who Bends Light. Finally, Grandpa Ephraim offers proof. The Circus is real. And the Lightbender owes Ephraim a miracle. With his friend Jenny Mendoza in tow, Micah sets out to find the Circus and the man he believes will save his grandfather.

What I really love about this book is the way it tells two stories. First, there is the story of the circus itself, all magic and wonders. Then there is the far more serious story of Micah and the loss of his grandfather. This is Cassie Beasely’s first novel but she moves back and forth between these two stories marvelously.

As the book states so simply “just because a magic is small doesn’t mean it is unimportant”. This magical book could be a Newbery contender.

Facing challenges

3 Sep

Scan 3

I started kindergarten in the Fall of 1969. I was 4 and wouldn’t turn 5 until December. I remember being excited but around me people were worried. I was very shy and, apparently, the plan was to let me start and see how things went. If they went well, I’d stay. If they went poorly, I would get another year at home to mature.

Fortunately, I loved Miss Belyea, my teacher, and I loved school. I might have been emotionally immature, but I was ready to learn, so, I got to stay.  School was sort of my comfort zone. I felt confident in the structure, surrounded by people I knew and the work came to me easily. I still have my kindergarten report card and I get a little teary when I read Miss Belyea’s  end of the year comments:

” Adrienne has developed from a very quiet, insecure child to the most perfect little student…..I have enjoyed watching Adrienne blossom into a lovely little rose.”

Sigh.

For Vince, the main character in Paperboy by Vince Vawter, things aren’t quite as easy because he stutters.

Unknown

Eleven year old Vince is an excellent pitcher and has a close friend he calls Rat. When Rat goes away for the summer, he asks Vince to take over his paper route. Vince agrees, but reluctantly. He was OK with delivering the paper, it was the collection, where he’d have to talk to customers, that worried him. As the summer passes, Vince faces this challenge, along with others, and, like I did with Miss Belyea, blossoms.

The story is set in Memphis in 1959. Although it is not a story about civil rights, themes appear, as Vince contemplates the world around him as an 11 year old might. Not really understanding the adult world, but wanting to, even when it is ugly.

This is a quiet novel that is well worth the read. It might also be a Newbery contender.

Randy Ribay

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