It took this book a LOT of pages to win me over. I started it not wanting to read it at all. If it hadn't won the Newbery award for this year, I neverIt took this book a LOT of pages to win me over. I started it not wanting to read it at all. If it hadn't won the Newbery award for this year, I never would have picked it up. It just isn't my type of book. I don't care about basketball, and I really don't want to read a book about middle grade boys who can only think about and talk about and care about basketball. I figured the fact that it was written in verse would help it to go faster, but that didn't seem to help much - especially after the first few pages felt like a rap song all about and only about basketball. It didn't seem to get much better for pages and pages and pages, but then somewhere in the middle I found myself chuckling at some of the family conversations. And then I started to care about the characters just a bit. Towards the end, I could see what was going to happen and I was genuinely sad to see it coming.
This is about more than basketball, although you have to read most of the book to get to it. I can see why this has won awards, and I know there will be many who LOVE it. I'm not one of them, but I did come to like it by the end. 3.5 stars.
I really liked Basketball Rule #10:
A loss is inevitable, like snow in winter. True champions learn to dance through the storm....more
Hm. Not my favorite by Kate DiCamillo. It just never pulled me in. The characters are different and interesting, but I never found myself caring aboutHm. Not my favorite by Kate DiCamillo. It just never pulled me in. The characters are different and interesting, but I never found myself caring about them very much. Worth reading once, but not one I would revisit again. 2.5 stars....more
Wow. It was a strange coincidence reading another book right after Wonderstruck that also takes place in two separate time periods but with interestinWow. It was a strange coincidence reading another book right after Wonderstruck that also takes place in two separate time periods but with interesting connections between the two stories in the book.
Several years ago I made a point of reading all of the Newbery winners. Since then, I've never waited so long to read a new one when it was announced. I've had this sitting in my to-read stack for months and months, but it never called out to me. I just wasn't sure I would really like it all that much. I finally decided it was time and past since the next winners will soon be announced. And now I'm ever so glad I finally pulled it out of the stack and read it!
It took a while for the characters and the stories to grab me. I never had a hard time picking it up, but I also didn't have a tough time putting it down. But somewhere in the middle, I'm not even sure when it happened, I was sucked in - hook, line and sinker. I only realized it when I got to the end and I was crying and thinking about the characters in the book like they were real people. When I finished, I wanted to start the book all over again and read it a second time knowing the connections and the surprises in the story. This would be a fabulous reread.
This isn't a book that will have universal appeal to all children. It's a little long and takes its time getting to the point. But I can see it really appealing to those who like great female main characters and those who enjoy historical fiction. Not every reader is looking for short and sweet, light and fluffy. Offer this to those children who like to read books with a little depth and fabulous characters.
I really enjoyed the author's note at the end telling which parts were based on real events and real people. The town of Manifest itself is based on a real town in Kansas where the author's grandparents grew up. I'm sure that's part of why the characters feel so much like real people.
I'm not going to say much about the storyline itself. You can read elsewhere for that. I'm just going to say that if you like historical fiction and quiet stories with great characters who feel like real people, then you should definitely read this. 4.5 stars....more
Wow. Easily five stars. This is a MUST for all Madeleine L'Engle fans - and anyone who enjoyed watching The $20,000 Pyramid game show! Once I really gWow. Easily five stars. This is a MUST for all Madeleine L'Engle fans - and anyone who enjoyed watching The $20,000 Pyramid game show! Once I really got started, I didn't want to stop until I had finished. And even once I reached the end, I went back and reread some parts again.
I loved the writing style with short chapters, most with titles that could be categories on The $20,000 Pyramid game show and applied in some way to the events in the chapter. The short chapters also moved the story along quickly, giving you just enough detail to make you wonder at the mysterious events and want to continue. As the story progresses, you start to realize that even some of the mundane events might have great significance. I'm not going to give too much detail, though, because this one is best enjoyed by not knowing too much about the plot before you read it.
I definitely want to read this again sometime, and I also need to see if I can get my hands on a copy of Rebecca Stead's first book, First Light. I could definitely see this winning the Newbery award....more
For me, enjoying this one was all about the characters and the interesting setting. Who else but Neil Gaiman could write a Jungle Book-type story andFor me, enjoying this one was all about the characters and the interesting setting. Who else but Neil Gaiman could write a Jungle Book-type story and set it in a graveyard? And he has created a wonderful cast of unique characters that I really cared about. This is also very well-written with great descriptions that set the mood and pull you right into the story. I had fun picking out all the graveyard puns such as characters with a "grave" face or walking "gravely." If I ever read this again, I'm going to keep a list.
I'm not sure how I feel about this book for my library, though. That first chapter is necessary for the rest of the book, but wow, murder of children? In a children's book? So I would say that it definitely isn't a book for younger children. The violence in that first chapter wasn't graphic, but it was definitely there.
Many of my students have read and loved Coraline and always ask for something similar. Although this isn't exactly similar, I think it would appeal to many of those same students. So I'm still deciding whether or not this is a book for my library....more