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|Spirit of Cattail County|
Author: Piontek, Victoria
When her mother dies, Sparrow is left with only an aunt for a relative, and no human friends, because most of the residents of the small town of Beulah find her "unusual" and think her house near the Everglades is haunted (which it is)--in fact Sparrow's only real friend is the Boy, an unusually solid-seeming ghost who accompanies her everywhere, but never speaks, and who has a secret which Sparrow will need to discover, perhaps with the help of a family of town outcasts and a child fortune-teller.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.20
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 196509
Kirkus Reviews (03/01/18)
School Library Journal (03/01/18)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/05/18)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 03/01/2018 Gr 4–6—A moving quest for comfort, understanding, and acceptance set in the marshes of Florida. Sparrow is not like other children, she has the gift, or curse, of seeing spirits. After her mother passes from illness, Sparrow asks her best friend—a ghost no one else can see—to send a message to her mom. Sparrow is in need of friends, family, and everything else she seems to lack. Her challenges throughout the book will resonate with pre-teens and those who have ever lost a loved one or felt they were completely alone. The author also delves deep into the roots of life in Florida, with descriptive sensory details throughout the story. Readers can feel the mud squish beneath their feet as characters walk through the marshes, and smell the salt in the air as the wind blows. VERDICT A melancholy, but ultimately uplifting, story about overcoming sorrow and finding one's place in the world. Hand this to readers who crave sad stories.—Megan Honeycutt, University of West Georgia - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 05/01/2018 For Sparrow Dalton, life in swampy, small-town Beulah has never been easy. Her mama recently passed away; she never knew her daddy; and sometimes, the town buzzes with rumors “she must be the daughter of the swamp itself.” To make matters worse, Sparrow also sees spirits. One of them, the Boy, a cherub-faced trickster, has skulked by her side for as long as she can remember. Sparrow’s never told a soul about the Boy, but if she wants to make her mama a spirit like him, she’ll require help, and she finds that—and more—in town outcasts Maeve and Johnny Casto, as well as traveling child fortune-teller Elena. But the Boy needs help, too, and the gang soon stumbles into a century’s worth of scathing secrets. With gorgeous prose, an eerie historical undercurrent, and a lush, larger-than-life Florida backdrop, Piontek not only delivers a taut exploration of fractured small-town dynamics, but an entrancing, compulsively readable mystery. Sensitive readers with a yen for all things supernatural will hungrily sleuth their way through this atmospheric debut. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.