The theme for this set of Quick Picks is: Children Dealing with Loss.
Note: Quick Pick books are always recommendations. (If I don’t recommend the book, it’s not a Quick Pick!)
Lemons // by Melissa Savage
The cute cover of this book, plus the plot surrounding Bigfoot, makes this an unlikely book dealing with the topic of death and loss. But, it does.
Lemonade is the main character, and she’s dealing with the death of her mother and being suddenly dropped into the life of a grandfather she’s only just met. And then there’s Tobin, the neighbour kid whose father hasn’t come home from Vietnam.
Overall, I liked the book, but I thought the Bigfoot stuff a little odd. It certainly didn’t quite pan out like I thought it would. I didn’t necessarily hate the ending, but I didn’t super love the ending either. I did like the relationship developed between Lemon and Tobin. And I liked how Lemon’s struggles are portrayed in the book, often simmering like a volcano ready to explode.
(Side note: Does it bother other people when book mothers sack their child with a name like Lemonade? I know, she was born in the 60s, but still…)
Rain Reign // by Ann M. Martin
Rose (Rows) loves homonyms. And her dog, Rain (Reign, Rein), is a 3-homonym name. But then Rain goes missing during a hurricane. Rose is devastated by the loss of her dog. But Rose has a plan and she’s enlisting the help of a sympathetic uncle.
This is a very realistic portrayal of Rose, who has some form of autism. I love that the book is from her point of view. Too often, we’re the ones on the outside looking in. Ann M. Martin was able to show the difficulties, but also makes Rose sympathetic.
I found the relationship with her father sad. But the uncle and his patience and understanding is beautiful to see. And it’s also wonderful to see Rose grow in how she interacts with the world around her.
Flip-Flop Girl // by Katherine Paterson
This is the story about a family who moves to a new town after the death of the father. The girl (Vinnie) and boy (Mason) both deal with the loss of their dad in different ways. Mason refuses the talk, and Vinnie takes her anger out on her brother.
For Vinnie, it’s not only losing her dad, but also her best friend. A move means a new school. And that’s where she comes across the Flip-Flop Girl, who is dealing with her own loss. But she’s a little… weird. Definitely different from the other kids in Vinnie’s class.
I liked how Paterson connects the threads of Vinnie and Mason’s story with the Luce’s story, especially through Mason, the brother.
While this book is not as powerful as Paterson’s masterpiece Bridge to Terabithia, it’s still a good read. Vinnie’s reactions and thought-process is very interesting.