Author: Rylant, Cynthia
In 1972, Flora Smallwood, nine, copes with her parents' separation with the help of her friends, Yury and Nessie, a new pet, and the familiar routines of life in Rosetown, Indiana.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 5.90
Points: 3.0 Quiz: 195058
Kirkus Reviews (03/15/18)
School Library Journal (04/01/18)
Booklist (+) (05/01/18)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/05/18)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 04/01/2018 Gr 2–5—A keen observer of life with a passion for old, antique books, Flora Smallwood is increasingly worried about fourth grade. With her parents newly separated and the recent death of a beloved dog, this sensitive introvert takes small, careful steps to understanding herself and truly experiencing her own life. Flora's journey begins with a new friendship and a found pet, both of which help refine her understanding and tolerance of change and trust in others. Her trips to the used book store and time spent with friends keep Flora reaching outside her comfort zone. As she slowly opens up to new experiences and others, Flora begins to understand that sometimes the future is not something to fear, but rather something to look forward to. Acclaimed author Rylant quietly draws readers into the quaint Rosetown through her expertly crafted characterization. The contemplative, examining eyes of Flora create an empathic lens for readers as they experience the community through her eyes. Rylant's prose works to establish a slightly nostalgic feel, complemented by a leisurely paced plot, mimicking Flora's perspective. While the writing style and plot work well together, younger readers more accustomed to fast-paced, action-oriented tales may lose interest. Likewise, Flora's gradual transition will have readers craving and anticipating a major plot twist that never comes. VERDICT A beautifully crafted piece of writing that would be best appreciated by readers who value character over plot. An additional purchase for collections in need of gentle realism.—Mary-Brook J. Townsend, The McGillis School, Salt Lake City - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 05/01/2018 *Starred Review* Gentle and old-fashioned in the best sense, this story introduces nine-year-old Flora Smallwood, who loves living in Rosetown, Indiana. Not everything is perfect. Her dog Laurence has recently passed on, and her parents have decided to live in separate houses, at least for a while. But Flora has two good friends that support her: Nessy, who she’s known since they met at the library storytime, and Yuri, from Ukraine, who likes to read as much Flora does. Simply written, the book’s leisurely pace belies the fact that quite a bit happens during this school year. Flora finds a new pet; learns some new skills; and is surprised when her teacher informs her she might have the makings of a real writer, urging her to send her poetry to the newly launched Cricket magazine. All the characters, children and adult, get their due, but Flora’s dad is especially finely drawn. Set in 1972, this references some of the issues of the era—environmentalism and the end of the Vietnam War, though not civil rights—but in many ways, this could as easily have been set in 1952; some readers may hardly recognize the setting’s enduring calm. Rylant, a Newbery medalist, seems to polish each word she writes, and here offers a little gem about small-town life. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.