Saturday, March 10, 2012

Book Review: The Moon Over High Street by Natalie Babbitt

By: Natalie Babbitt
Published by: Scholastic Inc
Released on: March 1st, 2012
Source: ARC from publisher at ALA
Ages: 8 & up
3 stars: It's A Good Read
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The new novel by Natalie Babbitt, author of Tuck EverlastingJoe Casimir needed help with the choice he had to make. But how do you choose the person who will help you choose? Mr. Boulderwall, the millionaire, knew exactly what he wanted Joe to choose. And millionaires are experts at making choices. Well, aren't they? But Vinnie, the number-two man down at Sope Electric, didn't much approve of millionaires. He said to Joe, "Listen, kid, all of 'em act like they're the only ones with a ticket to the show!" But he didn't have any real advice to offer. Joe's Gran didn't either, as it turned out, and neither did Aunt Myra. The good advice was there, though. Right across the street. Just waiting right across the street. There are a lot of good things just waiting. You'll see.

Set in the early 1960's, this story follows that of young Joe Casimir, a twelve old boy who's been raised by his grandmother following the tragic death of his parents as an infant. After an accident that lands his grandmother in the hospital, Joe is sent to spend the summer with his "Aunt" Myra. During his stay with her he not only learns what family, love and friendships is all about, but what it means to hold onto your dream. The Moon Over High Street is a story that tackles the theme about money, the working class, rich vs poor, family, friendship and love.

I really enjoyed the old fashioned feel this story has with the setting, the way things were done during this time period and the mannerisms of the characters. It really set the tone for the story. I also enjoyed getting to met Joe. He was a quiet, reserved character who slowly started to break out of his shell during his time with his Aunt. I felt like for the first time he was able to see what having family around him was all about. His time spent with his Aunt consisted of delicious homemade breakfasts, reading out in the hammock, sitting around the table talking, his first crush and his blossoming friendship with the girl across the street and a chance meeting with the local millionaire, Mr. Boulderwall. Much to the shock of Joe, his family and myself, Mr Bolderwall makes an offer to adopt. Faced with making a choice of sticking with his family and following his dreams, Joe has to decide if money will buy him the happiness he always wanted.

This story is a fun, good ole' fashion Middle Grade read that will even be easy to read for readers as young as 3rd and 4th grade. The story line is easy to follow, the words are easy to read and it's a fun, fast paced book. Each of the characters bring something to the story and are enjoyable to read about. Along with Joe, I loved Aunt Myra and Joe's fiery Grandmother. Being that I'm a reader who looks for a little bit more depth with the characters, normally I would say I needed a bit more of a connection to really love this book, but the way in which Natalie wrote each character works great for this story. I think fans of Natalie's will enjoy Joe's story.

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I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~