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|Josie Bloom and the emergency of life|
Author: Long, Susan Hill
In 1977, middle-schooler Josie secretly takes on her aging grandfather's financial problems while also helping her friend Winky bail his Major League Baseball idol out of the town jail.
School Library Journal (01/01/20)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 12/01/2019 Josie has lived with Grandpa since her mother’s death, but lately he’s been acting strange: hiding cash, blurting odd phrases, and sneaking out at night. When she realizes that he’s not paying the bills, she tries to do it herself, but it’s a lot for any 11-year-old to handle. And though her teacher senses that something’s wrong, Josie won’t confide in anyone except her best friend, a boy who is legally blind and crazy about baseball. When they meet his favorite player, Josie decides that the man is her long-lost father. In her wry, first-person narrative, Josie emerges as a girl who, while caught in a situation she can’t control, has the gumption to keep trying and the empathy to help others. Maybe Josie can’t always control the forces at work, but readers will enjoy her efforts, her hard-won wisdom, and her occasional successes, such the final scene featuring a baseball league for blind and visually impaired players. Solid character portrayals and unpretentious narration make this a very readable historical novel, set in Maine in 1977. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 01/01/2020 Gr 3–6—Josie Bloom has a problem, and it's not just the mortgage. While her grandpa blurts out nonsense and feeds the squirrels, she finds a past-due mortgage statement. Since Grandpa is no help, she has to find a solution herself. With the help of her best friend, Elwyn "Winky" Wheaton, her teacher, a librarian, and a past-prime baseball player, she might just find the assistance she needs and maybe even the family she doesn't know she wants. Though this novel has an appealing premise, the writing falls short on details. The story takes place in 1977 Maine, but there is little description to solidify the setting. There is a small reference to Star Wars but because of Josie's situation, it seems unlikely she would have seen it in the theater. There is a mention of the 1974 World Series "bracket" and "quarterfinals," neither of which exist in baseball. The most problematic detail may be the nickname "Winky" due to Elwyn's Stargardt disease that causes macular degeneration. The explanation for Josie's grandfather's verbal tics is also troubling. He is addicted to a slot machine and yells out the symbols (i.e., "Peanuts!") at random times. VERDICT Some fans of realistic fiction might enjoy this title, but those seeking a charming, historical coming-of-age story may be disappointed. For larger collections.—Rebecca Fitzgerald, Harrison Public Library, NY - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.