Friday, May 27, 2016

Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee

If I have a "burning wish" for you it's to find a few hours in your special "grotto", pick up this book, and don't stop until you reach the end. Wow. Powerful stuff here that is so perfectly done and wrapped up in this middle grade realistic fantasy novel about love, loss, family and finding a way to move on.

It's the story of sisters Sylvie and Jules, together and closer since their mother's death.  The story of their friend Sam, who made them a triplet.  Sylvie 12; Sam, 11 1/2 and Jules, 11.  Growing up, all three were together.  They even sat on the school bus like that.  This is the story of Sam's older brother, Elk, who just got back from Afghanistan and his best friend, Zeke, who didn't.  It's also the story of a young fox, Senna, who helps guide Jules to healing in her own unique way.  It's a story of the connection of all of them in the woods past the invisible line, a catamount, wishing rocks, a bear, the grotto, a flamingo mug and so much more.

I listened and I read and I couldn't stop.  Alison McGhee reads the audio and her voice is as soothing as waking up on a summer morning.  Ahhhh....I folded laundry.  I dusted.  I wept.  I cleaned my closet and paused as I exhaled.  And, like Sylvie, I ran faster but I also read slower so I could listen longer. It all makes sense and comes together in a lovely sort of way.

Newbery worthy? Yes.  Book group worthy?  Absolutely.  I want to know and hear student reactions, especially when they become tight lipped because they just couldn't help it and read ahead...

Unlike Sylvie, I ran slower so I didn't have to stop listening.

I want to go out and buy a "Flo Jo" shirt right now and make it smell like coconuts...

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