Earlier Nina asked us to glance ahead and talk about some of our Fall Favorites, but we’re not done with the spring season yet either. What about this trio of contenders?
I haven’t read this anywhere, but does anybody else get a slightly WONDER-ish vibe from this one? New York City fifth grader (named Albie instead of Augie) starts a new school with lots of doubts. Hmmm. Sound familiar? This one got four starred reviews and Graff’s previous novel, A TANGLE OF KNOTS was long listed for the National Book Award last year, so she’s knocking on the door, so to speak. Close but no cigar?
With this novel, Lord does for dementia what RULES did for autism. And like Holm, she scores very high on the readability scale. That is, there is a nice sense of pacing because of the short length of the book, chapters, and paragraphs. Lots of dialogue helps, too. So I don’t think this book wants for child appeal, but does it score high enough on the literary merit scale, three starred reviews notwithstanding. That’s the question. Anyone care to make an argument for this one?
NIGHTINGALE’S NEST by Nikki Loftin
This one has the fewest starred reviews–two–but probably has the best chance. It’s inspired by “The Nightingale” by Hans Christian Andersen. There was another such novel published this spring–OPHELIA AND THE MARVELOUS BOY by Australian author Karen Foxlee, inspired by “The Snow Queen”–and perhaps that one stole its thunder. Nevertheless, this one continues to get good buzz.
Are any of these worth a closer look? Make your pitch.
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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 email@example.com
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