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|Handful of stars|
Author: Lord, Cynthia
When her blind dog slips his collar, twelve-year old Lily meets Salma Santiago, a young Hispanic girl whose migrant family is in Maine for the blueberry-picking season, and, based partly on their mutual love of dogs, the two forge a friendship while painting bee boxes for Lily's grandfather--but as the Blueberry Queen pageant approaches Lily and Selma are confronted with some of the hard truths of prejudice and migrant life.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.40
Points: 5.0 Quiz: 174049
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 4.30
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 66020
Kirkus Reviews (03/15/15)
School Library Journal (06/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (09/15)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 04/15/2015 When 12-year-old Lily’s blind dog, Lucky, slips his leash and runs away across the blueberry barrens of Maine, a young migrant worker named Salma saves him from running into the road with her well-timed gift of a sandwich. The two girls quickly become friends and discover that each has a dream: Lily’s is to earn enough money to pay for eye surgery for Lucky, hoping to restore his sight. Salma’s is to become both an artist and the first migrant worker ever to win the Downeast Beauty Queen pageant. Will their dreams come true? And if they don’t, will their friendship survive? Newbery Honor Book author Lord has written a quiet, gentle story of friendship, which occasionally a bit bland, lacking drama, and, with its few problems, too easily resolved. But the girls’ friendship is appealing, and Lucky—well, Lucky steals the show. Dog-lovers will dote on this one. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 06/01/2015 Gr 4–6—Two girls from seemingly different backgrounds bond over a blind dog and blueberries in Lord's latest heartwarmer. Lily lives in Maine, raised by her maternal grandparents, Mémère and Pépère. Her black lab, Lucky, is her strongest connection to her deceased mother. Lucky is slowly going blind and Lily is determined to raise money for an expensive and risky eye surgery to cure him; she paints wooden mason bee houses and sells them in her grandparent's general store. Salma is in Maine for the summer with her family, migrant workers who live and work in the blueberry barrens. Lucky unexpectedly brings the girls together and they immediately bond over their love of dogs, art, and blueberry enchiladas. Salma is creative and artistic, something that Lily both admires and envies. When Salma decides to enter the Blueberry Queen pageant—something no migrant girl has ever done before—Lily's eyes are opened to the microaggressions of some of the townsfolk. There's also the surprising support from Hannah, Lily's former best friend and reigning Blueberry Queen, who offers to loan Salma a gown. Through her friendship with Salma, the protagonist finds a confidence she didn't know she had and she begins to recognize and question her own previously unexamined biases. Despite the slim page count, this middle grade novel's plot evolves organically. Lord's characters reveal themselves slowly within the narrative and the Maine setting is richly described. The bright cover featuring an adorable black lab is pure shelfbait; though readers looking for a animal tale will instead find a story that centers more on family, friendship, and growing pains. VERDICT A thoughtful work that examines cultural bias and will spark discussion.—Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 09/01/2015 It’s a dog that brings Lily and Salma together: when Lucky, Lily’s ancient blind Labrador retriever, bolts for the road, Salma, one of the migrant workers picking Maine blueberries, lures him to safety with her sandwich. Soon a friendship blossoms between the two twelve-year-olds, and artistic Salma helps Lily decorate crafted bee houses to sell at the blueberry festival in order to raise funds for cataract surgery for Lucky. Salma also decides to enter the Downeast Blueberry Queen pageant, a move that breaks racial barriers but puts Lily, whose best friend is trying for a repeat victory, in an awkward position. Lord writes with a quiet naturalness that allows multiple plot facets to emerge without becoming messagey or heavy-handed. The treatment of Salma’s migrant life is matter-of-fact but direct, and Lily plausibly deals with possibilities of local racism and swells with indignation on behalf of her new friend. Motherless Lily’s occasional longing for a maternal figure (“It made me all messed up inside to have someone treat me like a daughter”) is poignant, and her eventual Salma-encouraged shift in her approach to Lucky fits smoothly with her character growth. It’s the straightforward and unaffected prose (highly suitable for a readaloud as well as reading alone) that really allows Lily’s story to shine, though, and it’s hard to resist joining her on her journey toward greater maturity. DS - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.