The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing
THREE TIMES LUCKY was a very mild surprise as a Newbery Honor book a couple of years ago. While I enjoyed Turnage’s debut, I did have some reservations about it (and I think Nina did, too). I acknowledged that I needed a second reading to sort out my feelings, but I just didn’t have the time for it. Fortunately, the Newbery committee doesn’t have that problem. I think if I had reread it, I definitely would have come to a greater appreciation of it, but I don’t know that I would have found space for it on my ballot.
Flash forward a couple of years, and its sequel, THE GHOSTS OF TUPELO LANDING, was one of the strongest books of the spring season, garnering five starred reviews. With another strong cover, and a ghost story element to go with the mystery, I think this one may have even broader child appeal than the first one. Yet nobody mentioned it as a favorite when Nina opened discussion earlier in the week.
I’ll acknowledge that it’s sometimes harder to get as excited about a sequel (and we know the odds of repeating are not the best), and I still have some personal taste issues with the pacing and the over-the-top characterization that I’m sure some of you may also share, but all things considered, I think we may be selling this one short by not including it in the conversation.
Interesting side note: It’s almost a Newbery reunion of sorts. I say almost because while Katherine Applegate publishes IVAN, and Steve Sheinkin has THE PORT CHICAGO 50 on the table, we’re still missing something from Laura Amy Schlitz. Write faster, Laura Amy!
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About Jonathan Hunt
Jonathan Hunt is the Coordinator of Library Media Services at the San Diego County Office of Education. He served on the 2006 Newbery committee, and has also judged the Caldecott Medal, the Printz Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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