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Where I live

by Eileen Spinelli


Syndetic Solutions - [Book Review for 9780803731226]

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Gr 1–4—Precocious Diana loves astronomy, poetry, and sleepovers with her best friend, Rose. She's content with the way things are: her sun poem won the school contest, she is painting her room midnight blue to go with her star charts, and a bird family has made a nest in a wreath on the front door of her house. She even enjoys her little sister, Twink, who can be pesky at times, gets itchy on long car rides, and manages to get covered in midnight blue paint. Then, Diana gets bad news: her dad has lost his job, and they're moving six hours away to live with Grandpa Joe. She must say goodbye to her old home and to her best friend. Spinelli crafts a reassuring and engaging story in verse, and young readers facing similar circumstances will find their experiences and emotions echoed in Diana's thoughtful musings. The girl finds great solace in her poetry journal and is able to work through her emotions in a creative way. Phelan's charming pencil drawings are a perfect complement to this heartfelt tale.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA

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Syndetic Solutions - [Book Review for 0803731221]

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From BookList, August 1, 2007, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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When Dad stops telling jokes and Mom laughs less than usual, grade-schooler Diana worries. Then comes the good news: My parents / are not / getting / a / divorce. The bad news? Dad has lost his job, and the family must move. Told in free-verse, this quiet, polished novella shows Diana's struggle to accept her situation, aided in part by a mind-expanding poetry workshop. Phelan's frequent pencil drawings extend Spinelli's poems with images of an affectionate, concerned family and scenes of joy and sadness shared with best friend Rose, who is African American. In a market crowded with novels-in-verse, this one feels a bit facile, and some readers may wish Rose didn't drop out of the picture so completely once a new friend appears on the scene. Teachers, however, will welcome the poems' imagery and symbolism (like the fledglings nesting in, then departing from, Diana's old front door), and Diana's journey from one comfort zone to another will reassure children anticipating their own mad-sad goodbyes. Mattson, Jennifer.

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