Tripp's Reviews > Bridge to Terabithia

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
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Apr 07, 12

bookshelves: middle-grade, past-tense, third-person
Read from April 02 to 04, 2012, read count: 1

Stays with the point of view of rising 5th grader, Jesse Oliver Aarons, Jr., who lives with his family in a rural area near Washington, D.C. The novel opens in the summer, with him training to be the fastest runner in 5th grade. He's also a talented, budding artist, though this isn't encouraged by his parents and his father is suspicious of it. By the end of the first chapter, Leslie Burke, and her well-educated parents, have moved into the nearest house.

Leslie doesn't fit in, demonstrating this by not knowing her place as a girl on the playground when she joins the boys in their foot races and beats them all. In spite of this rocky beginning, she and Jess (what everyone calls him), the two become friends, and the novel chronicles how Leslie's fearlessness and imagination help Jess understand what might be possible for someone with his ability.

Terabithia is what they name the woods near their houses, which can only reached by swinging across a deep, usually dry, stream bed on a rope tied to a tree. Terabithia is their refuge from school, where they encounter and even defeat a girl bully but endure the typical murmurs and smirks about "girlfriends" and "boyfriends." By Easter they are fast friends when Miss Edmunds, the music teacher whom Jess has a crush on, and the only teacher who recognizes Jess's talent, invites him to accompany her to visit the National Gallery of Art in D.C. on the holiday. Jess considers asking if Leslie can go as well, but decides not to, wanting the time with just Miss Edmunds. The chapter is titled "The Perfect Day," and it is until he gets home and is told about the accident: Leslie drowned in the stream, swollen by days of rain leading up to Easter. The rope snapped as she swung across and she hit her head as she fell.

He builds the bridge to Terabithia in the final chapter and initiates his little sister, May Belle--of all his sisters, she's the most like him--in the mysteries of that realm.
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