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|Hiding out at the Pancake Palace|
Author: Marino, Nan
When musical prodigy, Elvis Ruby, completely freezes up on television, he is forced to hide out in the Pinelands of New Jersey and try to find his way back to the music once again with the help of a new friend.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.00
Points: 6.0 Quiz: 159263
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 3.30
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 60863
Kirkus Reviews (+) (02/15/13)
School Library Journal (+) (05/01/13)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (06/13)
The Hornbook (00/07/13)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 04/15/2013 In the latest novel by the author of Neil Armstrong Is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me (2009), Elvis is alive and well and living in Wares Groves, New Jersey. Elvis Ruby, that is. The aptly named 11-year-old singing sensation is looking to escape the spotlight after blowing his shot to win the television competition Tween Star. The plan is to go incognito at a family friend’s restaurant, where he learns to make amazing pancakes and gets to know Cecilia, a local misfit. Exploring the surrounding Pine Barrens, the pair hear music in nature, create their own tunes, and bond . . . until the paparazzi track Elvis down and things go back to, well, basically the same as before. Lacking the real charm and truly quirky characters usually expected from a stranger-comes-to-town stories, this book is about unkept secrets and how both celebrities and loners have real feelings. If not exactly earth-shattering news, these issues, along with the interwoven legend of the Jersey Devil, make for an entertaining read. - Copyright 2013 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 06/01/2013 Eleven-year-old Elvis Ruby is a phenomenal talent: he can play just about any musical instrument, sing like an angel, ooze charisma, and oh, that hair! He’s a shoo-in to win TweenStar, the reality show/performance competition, or at least he was until he froze on stage and immediately had to go into hiding at a family friend’s pancake restaurant in a small New Jersey town. Cecelia Wreel, a resident of that small town, couldn’t be more different from Elvis: she’s an unpopular, unmusical small-town girl (though she thinks she might like music if she could hear the song that her mother and father insist was playing through the pines on the night she was born in a cedar swamp in New Jersey). When Elvis shows up at her local pancake place disguised as a nondescript boy named Aaron, she sees him as a potential friend, but when she overhears him whispering his real name to the pines one night, she imagines that he, if anyone, can help her find her song. The infusion of the folkloric tropes of singing pines and the Jersey Devil adds a not-meant-to-be-subtle metaphor for the problems that beset the two; both are on the cusp of adolescence and searching for their identities in mostly the wrong places by trying to live up to the ideals of those around them. Threaded through the book are wisps of other themes, such as the power of music, the importance of maintaining tradition weighed against staying current, and the difficulty of keeping secrets. While these individual melodies are sweetly played, the book never becomes a harmonic whole, with abrupt shifts between subplots that readers will need to synthesize without much authorial assistance. It’s really the premise that takes center stage anyway: Elvis himself is a stand-in for an actual young pop star with real talent and swoon-inducing hair, and the story of his going into hiding among regular folk will have wish-fulfillment appeal for many a young reader. KC - Copyright 2013 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 04/20/2013 Gr 5–8—Internationally known, super-famous Elvis Ruby gets stage fright and freezes up in front of millions of people, on live TV. Where can he hide? Marino deposits the 11-year-old in the Pinelands of New Jersey at a family friend's small breakfast diner, where he hopes to get the anonymity he needs and a break from the relentless paparazzi who follow his every move. Elvis cuts his trademark locks, dyes his hair a mousy brown, and goes incognito as Aaron. However, when you have that sparkle in your eyes and that pizzazz in your personality, incognito can be a difficult place to be. And a chance meeting with a girl named Cecilia threatens to disrupt the very calm that Aaron needs. Family legend has it that on the night she was born, the trees sang. Cecilia is desperate to hear that song again, to know that it really happened, and that even the nonmusical people of the world really do have a song hidden within their soul. Can Aaron help her regain hers at the same time that she inadvertently helps him regain his, without blowing his cover? Marino has written a timely and expertly executed novel about what it means to discover yourself. Aaron and Cecilia are both likable and flawed at the same time. Their desire to find themselves as they stumble through the shadows of the trees late at night is a wonderful metaphor for adolescence. Put this book in the hands of both the girls who follow every moment of the latest teen celebrity's life and the quiet boys and girls who stand on the sidelines, listening for their song.—Lisa Kropp, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.