Thursday, March 04, 2010

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

I truly enjoy the kind of book that offers pieces of a puzzle throughout and then pulls all the threads together at the end to reveal the whole picture. It isn’t a true mystery story, but a type of jigsaw puzzle that takes place supposedly over the course of a few months, but actually encompasses many years.

Time travel and references to Madeline L’Engle’s wonderful book A Wrinkle in Time are intriguing elements of this book.

It reminds me of the “Ah-ha” feeling I got from reading Holes by Louis Sachar.

Is it any wonder that When You Reach Me was just awarded the 2010 Newbery Medal?!

I would recommend it for middle school readers and good readers in grades 4-5 who have fairly well developed deductive reasoning abilities.

The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith

This story is a combination mystery and philosophical introspective by the main character, Isabel Dalhousie. I’ve already commented on book 4 from this series. I felt a bit like a clairvoyant while reading this book (#1 in the series) because I know how Isabel’s relationships with two other main characters will change dramatically by the 4th book. There is plenty in this book to inspire ethical thought, and my own Scots-Presbyterian influences are raising feelings of guilt as I read and considered Isabel’s thoughts and issues! I think I’ll look for book #2.

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