________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 34. . . .May 6, 2016


Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles.

Shari Green.
Toronto, ON: Pajama Press, 2016.
239 pp., trade pbk., $11.95.
ISBN 978-1-77278-007-9.

Subject Headings:
Family problems-Juvenile fiction.
Grandparent and child-Juvenile fiction.
Friendship-Juvenile fiction.
Novels in verse.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Bev Brenna.

**** /4


I lean over the porch railing,
scan the ribbon
of wet sand.
Last nightís wind rearranged driftwood
along the beach
like my mother scrubbing,
moving furniture around
after she and Dad fight.


Eleven-year-old Bailey longs for miracles. She and her younger brother are spending a month on Arbutus Island with a spoon-stealing grandmother they havenít previously met while their parents are at Marriage Repair camp. As Baileyís new friend Daniel, a boy with cystic fibrosis, demonstrates his capacity to live in the present, Bailey learns to think about things she can change, and things she canít, in a more mature and positive way. Family secrets, as well as unique and complex characterizations, make this a light-hearted yet evocative page-turner.

     Told in verse-novel form, Greenís writing is captivatingly visual, with seamless inclusions of figurative language. As with many other verse-novels, a first-person narrative, told from the present tense, makes the story immediate and compelling, versatile as independent reading or as an engaging read-aloud.

     Choices in formatting add to the textís readability, extending it to a wider than typical age and ability range. The varied line lengths support comprehension, with wide indenting and use of italics to identify dialogue, as well as extra spacing between speakers. Onomatopoeia is flush left and italicized. In addition to these helpful cues, imagined speeches between Bailey and a piece of driftwood she has personified occur in playscript style.

Highly Recommended.

Bev Brenna, a literacy professor at the University of Saskatchewan, has 10 published books for young people.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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