Author: Giff, Patricia Reilly
When her brother Rob, a Navy cook, goes missing in action during World War II, Jayna, desperate for family, leaves upstate New York and their cranky landlady, accompanied by a turtle and a ghost, to seek their grandmother, who Rob believes may live in Brooklyn.
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|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 3.80
Points: 4.0 Quiz: 156082
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 3.20
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 59830
Common Core Standards
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Kirkus Reviews (+) (11/15/12)
School Library Journal (02/01/13)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (04/13)
The Hornbook (00/01/13)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 12/15/2012 Toward the end of World War II, orphaned Jayna lives with her older brother, Rob, a cook in the navy. He ships out for the Pacific, leaving her in their landlady’s care. When his ship is sunk and he is listed as missing, Jayna fears that Rob will never return. Hoping to find a grandmother she has never known, she runs away to nearby Brooklyn, where she is taken in by a kind lady who runs a bakery. Throughout the novel, a ghost resembling Jayna sometimes speaks to her, appears to her, or acts on her behalf. As in the Newbery Honor Book Lily’s Crossing (1997) and its companion book Willow Run (2005), Giff offers an accessible chapter book with highly individual characters and a convincing picture of life on the home front. Jayna often makes soup, and related recipes appear between chapters. Though parts of the story seem as improbable as daydreams, readers will be swept along by Jayna’s first-person narrative and moved by the novel’s ending. - Copyright 2012 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 02/01/2013 Gr 5–8—Jayna and her older brother have lived together in a rented house ever since Rob was legally old enough to take custody after their parents' death. Both are adept in the kitchen: the 11-year-old specializes in soup; Rob is now a Navy cook preparing to join a destroyer crew in the Pacific. He has arranged for Jayna to live with their landlady, Celine, while he is deployed. Jayna's narration is fresh, honest, and plausible as she describes how she is guided by a voice, perhaps a ghost, but certainly a helpful presence. When she and Celine are notified that Rob is missing in action, Jayna leaves upstate New York for the long trek to Brooklyn. There, armed only with an old inscribed cookbook with an address, encouragement from the ghost, and the company of a turtle named Theresa, she hopes to locate their grandmother. Though she doesn't find her, she connects with her own family history to discover that she has relatives, friends, and a future. Near the end of the war, Rob returns with a bit of help from the ghost suggested, perhaps a bit conveniently but satisfying nonetheless. Jayna's understanding of the complexity and kindness of others grows as she does, providing fuller characterizations. While the story is set during World War II, the separation of families and fear of loss in this novel is very contemporary. Jayna's soup recipes placed between chapters reflect her concerns and triumphs in this gratifying story of hope, faith, and family ties.—Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 04/01/2013 When Janya’s big brother, Rob, leaves to go to war on a Navy destroyer in the Pacific, Jayna must go to stay with their landlady, Celine, an arrangement that is unsettling for both Jayna and Celine. Even more disturbing is the fact that Jayna has started to hear a voice speaking to her and sometimes sees facets of a person: a lock of ginger hair that disappears into nothing, a pair of feet, hands wearing Jayna’s nail polish. After Jayna receives news that Rob is missing in action, the spirit guides Jayna to leave Celine’s and head to Brooklyn to find a woman named Elise, who owns a bakery, Gingersnap (also Jayna’s nickname from her dead mother), and who may be Jayna’s grandmother. This is an unusual little slice of World War II American life that will have wide appeal. Historical-fiction buffs will be intrigued by the wartime period details of Jayna’s life while the partial manifestation of the ghost girl is intriguing but not too creepy. Jayna’s search for her extended family may resonate with kids with foster-care experience, and her yearning for a home is an entirely understandable desire, even for kids who have never been displaced from their own. The soup recipes (from Jayna’s family cookbook) interspersed throughout the text may also inspire readers to do some post-story cooking. JH - Copyright 2013 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.