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|Big & little questions (according to Wren Jo Byrd)|
Author: Bowe, Julie
Fourth grader Wren Jo Byrd questions lots of things--both little and big--when her parents decide to get a divorce, and learns a lot about the true meaning of family, home, and friendship.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 3.70
Points: 5.0 Quiz: 193099
Kirkus Reviews (12/01/16)
School Library Journal (-) (01/01/17)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (00/03/17)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 01/01/2017 Gr 3–5—Wren Jo Byrd navigates the beginning of her fourth grade year and her parents' separation with mixed success. Bowe creates realistic tension with Wren's secretiveness and dishonesty toward her best friend, Amber; a new girl in town named Marianna; and shifting family dynamics. Wren learns that Marianna has secrets of her own, and as both characters' secrets are exposed, the girls and their relationship mature. The final resolution provides Wren (and readers) with the assurance that her parents love her and that life will go on. Bowe integrates the themes of divorce and friendship well and with an awareness of her audience. She gently conveys the intricacies and hardships of balancing time with both parents, routines and family mementos changing, and the experience of being rejected by a friend. The characters, while relatable, are relatively flat, making it hard to fully engage with them. VERDICT Bowe writes Wren's story with sensitivity, yet with the wealth of literature on divorce and friendship (Kevin Henkes's Bird Lake Moon, Kate DiCamillo's Flora and Ulysses, Nikki Grimes's Words with Wings), this is an additional purchase.—Hilary Writt, Sullivan University, Lexington, KY - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 02/01/2017 After school in Wisconsin ends for the summer, Wren is shipped off to her grandparents’ house, while her parents sort out the issues surrounding their divorce. The fourth-grader is so upset by the news, she doesn’t even share it with her best friend, Amber, who doesn’t understand why Wren has disappeared without a word (or text). By the time school starts, Amber has a new best friend, Marianna, from Seattle, who shines with star power. Wren quickly realizes that news of the divorce hasn’t spread, and she decides to keep it that way, leading her into a web of lies and miscalculations that, naturally, make things harder rather than better. Bowe gets most everything right here: the pain and often embarrassment that comes with divorce, the agony over losing an old friend, and the way secrets (including Marianna’s) have ways of slipping out. The immediately appealing cover illustration featuring Wren (along with cat Shakespeare) leads readers easily into the natural-sounding first-person narrative. Solid middle-grade fare. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.