Toby's Reviews > My One Hundred Adventures

My One Hundred Adventures by Polly Horvath
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's review
Jan 25, 2009

it was amazing
Read in January, 2009

Newbery committees have been accused of being humorless, or at least of discriminating against funny books when selecting the most distinguished children’s book of the year. Like Polly Horvath’s Newbery-honor book, Everything on a Waffle, My One Hundred Adventures is funny but also immerses readers into a specific time and place. The place is within shouting distance of the ocean, which may or may not be familiar to readers. But the time, early adolescence, is a time we all remember for “wanting something more…something I-know-not-what, which is what adventures are about.”

Beyond the constant presence of the sea, time is measured in this book in berries, with the passing of summer proceeding as jam jars are filled with first strawberries, then raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. Summer itself is welcomed as “…the moon gently pulls back the layers of the year, leaving the best part open and free. So summer comes to me,” and how we yearn for it here in frigid Chicago!

Jane, oldest of four children who live in a cabin by the sea with their unconventional mom, falls into unlikely adventures with quirky characters. We come to know them through evocative images, for example, “…I felt so much like a candle on a cake ready to be lit”, which is as good a description of being twelve as I’ve ever read. Fourteen adventures are completed over the course of the novel, but of course Jane still has her whole life for the other 86. By the end, she has given up childhood’s magical thinking and grown into life-affirming wisdom.

I really liked this book and think it incorporates the characteristics of the best Newbery books, that is, child-friendliness and appeal on more than one level, humor but also a dimension of wisdom. I wish it the best of luck tomorrow.

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message 1: by Christy (new)

Christy Toby,
This sounds like a humorous yet thought provoking book. I am looking forward to reading it!

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