Author: Dairman, Tara
In the tiny northern town of St. Polonius, everyone over the age of twelve falls asleep after the traditional tasting of the Sacred Bear Liver at the Founders' Day Festival, leaving the children in charge, including Jean who tries to solve the mystery.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.10
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 193819
Kirkus Reviews (06/15/17)
School Library Journal (07/01/17)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/09/17)
The Hornbook (00/11/17)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 07/01/2017 Gr 4–8—In a small, insular Nordic town with seemingly harmless, quaint traditions, the children find themselves in a police state under a devious and manipulative kid mayor when all the adults suddenly and inexplicably fall into comas. Self-doubting and awkward Jean, 12, knows she must look for allies and uncover the truth. She and her small band of heroes are thwarted right and left, and readers will empathize with the characters as they encounter injustice. Dairman creates a sense of urgency and brings the work to a satisfying conclusion. The scenes are concise and well formed, grouped into chapters ending with a new question or realization that adds to the suspense. The trope of children without adult supervision or guidance leads to memorably humorous situations when the kids take on their parents' jobs (e.g., the plow driver's son who can't see over the steering wheel), as do the antics of a pet sheep. A friendship between Jean and Isara, who is from Thailand and the only immigrant in this mostly white community, emphasizes the theme of friendship in spite of differences. VERDICT Lighthearted enough to entice readers with the silly premise and whimsical illustrations sprinkled throughout, this middle grade book nonetheless explores some rather important political ideas about individuality and the need for a balance of powers in governance. A strong selection for most middle grade shelves.—Rhona Campbell, Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 09/15/2017 Traditions are important to the isolated people of St. Polonius-on-the-Fjord, and none so much as their annual Founder’s Day celebration. This is the first year that 12-year-old Jean Huddy has been old enough to taste the sacred bear liver, the pinnacle of the festivities, but to her chagrin, she’s unable to keep it down. It turns out this is the least of her problems when, hours later, all of the town’s adults and teenagers slip into an unwakeable sleep. In accordance with the town charter, the kids step into their parents’ roles to keep St. Polonius running. The children take to playing grown-up with gusto, dressing up in oversize uniforms and suits, but Magnus King assumes his role as mayor with a more calculating enthusiasm. Evading Magnus’ watchful eye, Jean works to find a cure for the adults, with the help of a few friends and her little brother—and his snowshoe-shod sheep, naturally. Quirky without being over-the-top, Dairman’s novel is a funny, wintry romp that explores just what might happen if kids were in charge. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.